Thunderbirds defeat UND men

In their last Big Sky Conference game on their home court, four UND men’s basketball seniors didn’t end on a winning note.

Southern Utah took down UND in a 71-65 battle at Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

Quinton Hooker went 10-for-15 from the field and registered a career-high, yet North Dakota couldn’t post a victory.

“Because of our slow start, there was no energy from our guys,” UND coach Brian Jones said. “But, our guys have to learn from that. Even with starting 3-for-21 (from the floor), we were not down that many points because our defense was holding strong until, probably, the last three minutes of the half when they scored on four straight possessions.

“The start of the second half, from an energy standpoint, was what we were capable of doing. That is why we cut into the lead.”

In what has become all too familiar this season, UND couldn’t clinch a victory, despite efforts from a team hoping to end the remainder of its season differently.

“We’ve had a long year of close games and not winning, and I think it’s just taking a toll on our guys,” Jones said.

Today, UND will host Omaha at home in its last game at the Betty before traveling to Northern Colorado on March 7.

There may not be many chances left to climb the standings, but UND is capable of accomplishing something else.

“To me, it’s just about playing for your teammates playing for some pride and continuing to get better,” Jones said. “You’re really going to know what you’re about these last two games. Obviously one’s a non-league game and it’s Omaha’s last game of the year as well. And then we go on the road to Northern Colorado. To me, it’s still about finishing strong.”

Staff report