The University of North Dakota men’s basketball team is off to an incredible start in the 2018-19 college basketball season.
The Fighting Hawks got their season started the right way with a 104-48 blowout victory over Northland College on November 6. Sharpshooting redshirt freshman Aanen Moody led the Hawks in scoring, finishing with 20 points on an efficient 7-of-12 shooting from the field and 6-of-10 shooting from behind the three-point line.
This performance from Moody was a good sign for what’s to come from the UND bench. Every good college team has to have bench scoring that they can rely on and it looks like Moody can be that guy for UND.
Seniors Cortez Seales and Conner Avants also had impressive season debuts. Seales finished the night with 16 points and zero turnovers on a nice 6-of-8 shooting from the field, while Avants nearly recorded a double-double, scoring nine points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting from the field and adding nine rebounds.
After the statement win over Northland College, UND headed to Milwaukee to take on a hungry Panthers team.
The Fighting Hawks got off to a solid start, holding Milwaukee to 17 first-half points and jumping out to a 13 point lead at the break. A second-half surge from Milwaukee, however, would make this game a lot closer than UND would’ve expected. UND got outscored 43-33 in the second half, resulting in a nail-biting 63-60 victory for the Fighting Hawks.
Now, after a 2-0 start to the season, UND would head to Kentucky to take on the Wildcats in the famous Rupp Arena. This would likely be UND’s toughest test of the entire season, battling the number ten ranked team in the country.
UND, understandably, had a tough time keeping Kentucky off the boards. Some of the best collegiate players in the nation, such as Keldon Johnson, EJ Montgomery, PJ Washington and Reid Travis, for Kentucky all had big nights on the glass, leading to Kentucky out-rebounding UND 45-15. It’s highly unlikely that any basketball team will ever win a game where they get out-rebounded by 30.
Final score: Kentucky 96, UND 58
Nobody thought UND would walk into Rupp Arena and beat the 10th ranked Kentucky Wildcats, so this was nothing but a minor speed bump on UND’s path to success for the 2018-19 season.
Next up for the Hawks was a very winnable game against Minnesota-Morris.
Cortez Seales led the way for the starters, scoring 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field while adding four rebounds and four assists. However, it was the stellar shooting from freshman Elijah Hazekamp that really stood out.
Hazekamp finished the game with 18 points on an extremely efficient 7-of-8 shooting from the field and a perfect 4-for-4 from three-point territory. UND went on to destroy Minnesota-Morris 112-58.
The Fighting Hawks will look to continue their solid start to the season as they take on Concordia College (NE) in Grand Forks on November 20.