UND shot down in third straight game

North Dakota shut down in weekend games, looks forward to Butler game.

Despite a difficult trip to the West Coast last weekend in which the UND men’s basketball team dropped three games, Green and White hoops has shown much promise early with multiple victories in a schedule that has provided very tough competition.

North Dakota (2-4 overall) has been on the road since its victory over North Dakota State University at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center on Nov. 24 and has played a difficult schedule before Big Sky conference play begins. That schedule gets no easier for North Dakota as it will take on Butler in Indianapolis this weekend in pre-conference action.

The Green and White wrapped up action this past weekend in the Global Sports Hardwood Classic, hosted by Oregon. UND dropped its opening match in the tournament on Nov. 29 in a 70-43 game against Cal Poly, before losing Saturday against Oregon, 91-76, and again Sunday to Pacific, 93-76.

Cal Poly appeared to have no problems keeping North Dakota in check on Friday as the Mustangs never trailed in the game and held the Green and White to just 11 field goals in the contest. UND’s top scoring duo in seniors Troy Huff and Aaron Anderson were suppressed as the pair combined for just nine points after averaging 46 together heading into the game.

Freshman Quinton Hooker had a team-high nine points in the match for UND while Jamal Webb and Alonzo Taylor each added seven of their own.

Saturday’s contest with Oregon brought more life out of the UND lineup — yet a high-powered Duck offense proved to be too much in the end and enough to hold off a late-game North Dakota rally.

“Compared to the previous night, I was really proud of our guys,” UND coach Brian Jones said. “Yesterday we had no energy, no pop to us. Our guys responded, bounced back today and showed the way we are capable of playing.”

The Ducks took a 49-32 advantage heading into the half, but the high-scoring duo of Huff and Anderson brought the Green and White to life in the second half.  Anderson netted 17 points in the second half while Huff added 16 of his own to help narrow the deficit to 81-70 with two minutes left in the game, but that would be as close as the lead would get.

“(Last night) it felt like there was a lid on the basket,” Anderson said. “Today, it opened up.”

Huff would go on to finish the game with 25 points and nine rebounds while Anderson finished with 22. Jaron Nash also mustered a double-digit performance for the Green and White finishing with 12.

Sunday’s action capped off a difficult road trip as North Dakota again fell short to Pacific.  UND brought a lot of energy to the first half of the contest as it took a 48-45 lead into the half, its only of the tournament, but the Boxers broke the second half open after capitalizing on 11 North Dakota turnovers.

“We played hard for 40 minutes, but only executed the game plan for 20,” Jones said. “Pacific, being the veteran team that they are, did not get rattled and stuck to their game plan. That allowed them to create some separation.”

UND’s offense has had no difficulty in production as the Green and White are averaging 80.8 points per game. But opponents have put up an average of 83.8 points per game this year.

Troy Huff leads the team in scoring with 23.2 points per game, while fellow senior Aaron Anderson has added 14.7 of his own thus far on the 2013-14 campaign. Jaron Nash also has produced in his senior year, averaging 11.2 points per game.

North Dakota’s difficult road schedule continues into this Saturday as the Green and White head to Indianapolis for a match-up with Butler.  The Bulldogs come into the game at 5-2 overall, outscoring their opponents with a 73.4 to 66.9 points per game average.

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