UND Falls to Western Illinois

Maeve Hushman, Sports Reporter

With bleary eyes, UND basketball fans trickled into the Betty for a rare 11:00 am game. While the fans were barely awake, it seemed the same for the team. UND fell to Western Illinois University 81-70. The Men’s basketball team has started to find its footing and identity as a team; however, this game was a departure from the methods that had helped them find success.  

“In the first half, we didn’t force a turnover or they has seven offensive rebounds. When you give up those kinds of numbers on the defensive side of the floor, you’re just not playing with a lot of energy, effort, or enthusiasm,” Head Coach Paul Sather said after the loss. “There’s a little carry over from that Kanas City game where I thought we were really fighting, trying to stay together throughout that game and I felt like this game felt a lot the same.”  

Even though UND opened scoring Western Illinois quickly answered and racked up a lead. UND was able to claw back, going on a bit of a run toward the later part of the first half and tie the lead but they were unable to pull ahead. It felt like throughout this game UND was playing catch-up. Even though it was difficult, UND managed to pull within striking distance, finishing the first half with a score of 38-32 in favor of Western Illinois.  

The second half followed a somewhat familiar pattern. Western Illinois scored to stretch the lead, but UND again pushed back pulling to within four points. While UND continued to score and frequently shrank the lead to only four, five, or six points throughout the half. Western Illinois also scored and the effort UND was putting up was not enough to tie or regain the lead. UND was shooting 50% in the second half, but the lead Western Illinois put up in the first and their continued scoring led to that effort being unsuccessful.  

Coach Sather tied this failure to come back to effort. “There were opportunities, but they played harder,” Sather said. “Western Illinois for 40 minutes played harder than we did.” 

“As a group today, we just didn’t come out competing at the level we needed to,” Senior Brady Danielson said. “We’ve got be ready to play every game no matter if it’s at 11:00 am or 7:00 pm, and I just didn’t feel like we were ready today.”  

 Not being able to commit to the full 40 minutes has been a theme that this team has had to overcome this year, and, in this game, those old demons seemed to come back to bite them. As the team prepares for the Summit League tournament, they will have to prevent those tendencies from sneaking back in. 


Maeve Hushman is a Dakota Student Sports Reporter. She can be reached at [email protected]