Wayne Nelson / Forum News Service
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.
GRAND FORKS -UND bolted out to a 19-0 lead against Division II Southwest Minnesota State. Everything seemed to be place; the Hawks were sharp in all phases of the game. Ten minutes later, the game was tied at 26-26. "We had a short talk and it worked out pretty well," said UND coach Travis Brewster. UND regained control and cruised to an 85-62 win over Southwest Minnesota State on Tuesday night at The Betty. UND improved to 7-3 and won its 11th-straight game at home.
SPOKANE, Wash.—UND entered The Kennel as a 30-point underdog against No. 12 Gonzaga. The Fighting Hawks also came in on a three-game losing streak and their overall play—for a good portion of the nonconference season— hadn't been great.
Since the season started, UND coach Brian Jones has been talking about his team being able to understand the process of college basketball—what it takes to win on a consistent basis. With seven new faces on the UND roster, that's been his overriding message since Day 1. That was the message again Tuesday night after UND downed Presentation College of Aberdeen, S.D., 82-75 at The Betty—a win that had bright moments and lackluster moments for the Fighting Hawks.
UND started its season with three games in Hawaii. Then, the Fighting Hawks played Big Ten member Nebraska two days ago before more than 10,000 fans. UND's home opener came Tuesday night against Northland College of Ashland, Wis., a Division III program. The game didn't have the buzz of a trip to Hawaii or a shot against a Big Ten team. That may have had something to do with UND's sluggish start. When reality sunk in, however, UND responded and cruised to a 79-48 win before 1,570 fans at The Betty.
SACRAMENTO—UND is one win away from making a return trip to the NCAA volleyball tournament. The Fighting Hawks downed Idaho 3-2 on Friday night in the semifinal round of the Big Sky Conference tournament in Sacramento. The Hawks won 23-25, 25-17, 25-16, 25-22 to improve to 29-7 on the season. UND will take on the winner of the Portland State-Sacramento State semifinal match on Saturday night for the Big Sky berth in the NCAA tournament.
GRAND FORKS — University of North Dakota men's basketball was living the dream seven months ago, winning the Big Sky Conference title and advancing to its first NCAA Tournament. UND won 22 games last season, beat Big Sky power Weber State in overtime in the Big Sky title game and hung around longer than many expected against No. 2 seed Arizona in a first-round NCAA Tournament game in Salt Lake City. The Big Sky title and NCAA Tournament berth now is the bar for UND basketball.