Team nets rival victory

Huff leads UND over NDSU 95-77 Sunday in packed Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

UND senior Troy Huff hold the ball Sunday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center against rival North Dakota State. Photo by Keisuke Yoshimura/The Dakota Student.

The North Dakota men’s basketball team picked up a high-powered 95-77 win against in-state rival North Dakota State to improve to 2-1 in pre-conference play while the Bison fell to 2-3 on the season.

Senior forward Troy Huff led UND in scoring with 32 points; his second 30-point-or-better game in a row, while his 10 rebounds in the match led both teams. NDSU senior Taylor Braun had 34 points for the Bison, but it was not enough to overcome a North Dakota offense that shot 50.9 percent as a team from the field.

“I’m proud of these guys,” UND coach Brian Jones said. “They came in with a sense of urgency and they cared and grew (as a team).”

Fans from both the Fargo and Grand Forks area came out in a multitude of green, white and yellow to pack the Betty to a near-capacity crowd of 3,142.

The attendance figure of 3,142 was second to a crowd of 3,192 that packed the Betty on Feb. 24, 2006 against Minnesota-Duluth.

North Dakota hosted the state-rival North Dakota State Bison in the annual clash of the two teams. Last season’s matchup was stolen by NDSU 72-52 at the Fargodome on Dec. 9, 2012, in a match that saw two key injuries for UND, including Troy Huff who suffered a broken jaw.

North Dakota entered the night coming off of an energetic 103-85 loss to the No. 12 ranked Wisconsin Badgers. The 85 points put up by the Green and White were the second-highest Wisconsin has allowed at home in renown coach Bo Ryan’s 13 seasons in Madison.

Sunday’s contest was held at the Betty after the previous three match-ups had been held next door at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. The energy that the UND faithful brought against the Bison was not lost on the players.

“I had a blast,” Huff said. “I wish every game could be like that.”

UND got off to a running start after winning the opening tip-off as senior Aaron Anderson drove to the basket for the first two points of the game. Anderson would stay hot through the opening half — scoring eight, while completing six of six of his first free-throws.

The opening half was dominated by the Green and White, who outscored the Bison 44-35 while ensuring NDSU never held a lead in the first period of play.

North Dakota outshot the Bison from the field in the first, half 48.3 percent to 36.7 percent, while completing 25 percent of shots from behind the three-point arc to NDSU’s 20 percent.

Huff drained a three-pointer with 1:43 left in the first half to give North Dakota an 11-point lead; the highest that UND would hold in the contest’s first 20 minutes. Huff also led both teams in scoring heading into the break with 13 points in addition to five rebounds and two steals to help fuel the Green and White’s first period dominance.

North Dakota maintained its control over NDSU well into the second half as the Bison never held a lead in the game while UND led by as much as 19 in the closing minutes of the game.

Aaron Anderson finished with 18 points on the night, while Jaron Nash contributed 12 of his own for the Green and White. Jamal Webb found his teammates on the floor for five assists, a figure that led both teams.

Green and White hoops will travel west Friday to take on former Great West foe Cal Poly for their next preseason tune-up game.

David Butz is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].