Wayne Nelson / Forum News Service
GRAND FORKS -- The University of North Dakota left an impression on Gonzaga last December when the Fighting Hawks nearly pulled off their biggest upset of the Division I era. UND had national power Gonzaga on the ropes, but the Zags eventually rallied to beat the Hawks 89-83 in overtime. The game went to overtime because of Geno Crandall’s step-back, 3-point basket with 1.9 seconds to play, a basket that stunned the 6,000 Gonzaga fans at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
GRAND FORKS — Saturday began with the University of North Dakota's lone senior, 6-foot-9 Dale Jones, suffering from back spasms. He wouldn't be able to play his final home game with his teammates. Saturday ended with UND's 79-66 loss against Northern Colorado before 1,895 fans at The Betty, a game in which the Fighting Hawks failed to make a 3-pointer. For the first time in the program's Division I era, UND was held scoreless from beyond the arc.
UND and Northern Arizona are two teams that have been in a growing process throughout the season. That's probably why mistakes were made by both teams at critical times during Saturday's Big Sky Conference game before 1,970 fans at The Betty.
GRAND FORKS - In the past, there have been games the UND women's basketball team should have won but lost. On the flip side, there have been games UND should have lost but won. One can put UND's contentious 80-67 win over Weber State on Thursday night before 1,604 fans at The Betty in the latter category. UND, somehow, overcame a handful of obstacles against Weber State, the Big Sky Conference leader, to improve to 4-8 in the league and 11-12 overall. Weber dropped to 8-3 and 16-6.
UND would like to forget its early second-half performance against Montana State. Then again, the Fighting Hawks may need to recall that poor showing if things unravel again at some point during the remainder of the season. UND went from good to bad and back to good again in a roller-coaster 75-74 win over Montana State on Thursday night in a Big Sky Conference game before 1,885 fans at The Betty.
Last month, UND lost an 11-point lead and the game at Eastern Washington. On Thursday night, UND led the Eagles by 13 points at one point—only to see EWU storm back behind its full-court pressure defense. But UND survived the second meeting, hanging on for an 81-79 win in a Big Sky Conference game before 1,594 fans at The Betty. UND survived 21 turnovers, foul trouble on its leading scorer and a constant full-court press that often took the Hawks out of their offensive rhythm in the final 20 minutes.
GRAND FORKS — Weber State, most likely, made its final trip to The Betty on Saturday, Jan. 13. And that's too bad. The University of North Dakota-Weber State games in the Big Sky Conference have been some of the more highly competitive and entertaining games the Hawks have had since their arrival in the league in 2012.
GRAND FORKS — Nearly a month ago, University of North Dakota players left the McCarthey Athletic Center on the campus of Gonzaga University feeling pretty good. They just pushed No. 15 Gonzaga to the limit before falling in overtime. With a performance like that, UND felt confident heading into Big Sky Conference play. Somehow, UND players lost that feeling as the Hawks dropped their first four league games—all by double digits.
GRAND FORKS — The good news was that the University of North Dakota shot the basketball better, shooting 43 percent overall and 37 percent on 3-point attempts. That's still not great, but it was considerably better than the Fighting Hawks' showing two nights earlier against Idaho and for much of the season as well.
GRAND FORKS—Exactly one year ago, the University of North Dakota men's basketball team opened its Big Sky Conference men's basketball season at Portland State. The Fighting Hawks were pummeled in that Dec. 29, 2018, game, 99-62. On Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, the Hawks opened their 2017-18 Big Sky season and were roughed up by Idaho 74-57 before 1,597 fans at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. Last year, UND learned from that opening-game blowout. The Hawks regrouped and went on to win the Big Sky title.