Men’s Basketball Goes 1-1 in Conference Openers

Picture+by+Caitlin+Collins

Picture by Caitlin Collins

Alex Mailes, Sport Writer

The Fighting Hawks kicked off Summit League play with their first two conference games against UMKC last weekend at the Betty Engelstad Arena. After a tough non-conference season, finishing 1-8, the Hawks were looking to bounce back with a strong Summit League start. UMKC had an average start, going 4-5 in the first part of the season. 

Game 1: 

In the first game, both teams struggled offensively in the opening minutes, with UND being the first to break into double digits after Mitchel Sueker sunk two from the foul line 11 minutes into the game. This put the Hawks at a 10-4 advantage midway through the first half. UND’s lead wouldn’t last long, however, as the Roos would storm back with an 8-0 run, to jump to their first lead of the evening 12-10. The Hawks’ UND’s Tyree Inhenacho and Ethan Igbanugo responded with 7 unanswered points to regain the lead 17-10 with 5 minutes left in the half. The half ended with UND leading 21-16. 

Offenses from both squads improved in the second halfwith UMKC edging UND in the first 10 minutes. The Roos were able to tie the game at 37-37 with 8 minutes remaining and the game remained close with the Hawks maintaining their advantage into the closing minutesWith 30 seconds remaining, UND was able to pull ahead thanks to pair of free throws from Caleb Nero and Seybian Sims, putting the Hawks ahead 52-45 and giving them their first conference win. 

UND star Filip Rebraca put up another strong performance, scoring 16 points and nabbing 5 rebounds. Igbanugo and Sueker also had stellar outings, each contributing 11 points and a combined 10 boards for the HawksThe was the first time since November 14, 2008, that UND beat UMKC. 

Game 2: 

The second bout started off poorly for UND. The Hawks found themselves down 8-2 in the opening minutes with the Roos keeping them to a single field goal. UMKC continued to grow their lead as the half progressed being up 14 with a few minutes remaining. UND was able to keep things relatively close with some timely field goals to make it 28-20 going into halftime.  

The Fighting Hawks offensive production improved in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Kansas City. The Roos dominated on offense and defense, scoring 49 more points and keeping UND to zero buckets from the threepoint line. UND managed to put up 33 points making the final score 77-53, Kansas City’s win. 

UND struggled offensively throughout the game, going scoreless from the three-point line and making only 6 free throws out of 16 attempts. The Hawks also allowed 15 points on turnovers and 52 in the paint. Filip Rebraca was the top scorer, tallying 14 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks. De’Sean Allen-Eikons was productive off the bench, contributing 13 points and 2 rebounds. This loss dropped UND to 1-1 in Summit League play and 2-8 overall. 

The Fighting Hawks will take the court again on January 9th  at 7:30 pm against Oral Roberts at the Mabee Center in Tulsa, OK. Live coverage can be found on ORU Sports Network. 

 

Alex Mailes is a Dakota Student Sports Writer. He can be reached at [email protected]