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UND wins Big Sky opener in Utah

OGDEN, Utah — UND coach Brian Jones wrote one statistic on the locker room grease board at halftime. It was Sacramento State’s 56 percent first-half field goal percentage.

“He wrote that percentage on the board and that’s all he had to do,” said UND’s Troy Huff.

UND tightened up a lackadaisical first-half defense in the final 20 minutes and received some gritty offensive plays from the team’s two senior leaders — Huff and Aaron Anderson — down the stretch as North Dakota beat Sacramento State 79-76 on Thursday in the quarterfinal round of the Big Sky Conference men’s basketball tournament.

UND advanced to tonight’s semifinal round, now two wins away from the NCAA tournament.

“It wasn’t a pretty game but right now we’re not in a beauty contest,” said UND coach Brian Jones. “We’re about surviving and advancing. That’s it. And give our guys credit. They found ways to get defensive stops down the stretch.”

And that pretty much describes UND’s win.

UND came in as the No. 2 seed and Sacramento State No. 7 but the down-to-the-wire game was no surprise, considering the competitiveness the league showed this season.

“Tip your hats to North Dakota; they played a little better when it mattered,” said Sacramento State coach Brian Katz.

Wayne Nelson
Nelson is the sports editor of the Herald
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