Hawks Vandalize Idaho

Jack Harvey, Staff Writer

The UND men’s basketball team was able to close out the home stand with a win this weekend over the Idaho Vandals 88-65.

This marked the Fighting Hawks’ fifteenth win on the season as well as their tenth in their last 12 games.

“Honestly, I thought that was the best we have played from start to finish from an energy standpoint,” UND head coach Brian Jones said. “Our defense really set the tone. We were flying around, getting loose balls and rebounding, which was huge. All that led to easy baskets and allowed us to get a nice lead.”

The Hawks went into the game looking to improve their home record to 10-1 and fans at the Betty were not disappointed thanks to the efforts from the likes of Geno Crandall, Quinton Hooker and Carson Shanks.

“I had a good little stretch of games to start the year, then dipped a little bit; it’s good to go back up,” Shanks said. “It was a good matchup for me because they have more of a traditional lineup with bigger guys. Our guys got me touches and I made a couple right off the bat and went from there.”

Shanks, who came into the game averaging 5.8 points, was a big factor off the bench recording a double-double with 11 points and ten rebounds as well as a career high five blocks in the game.

“He had huge minutes, a great game,” UND senior Quinton Hooker said. “That’s something he’s been working toward. When he gets his mind and body right, that’s something he can do. He’s proven that before in certain games.”

Crandall lead the team with 22 points while Hooker also added on 21.

UND was able to capitalize on the 54 points between these three to have the lead over the Vandals in all but two minutes and 46 seconds of the game, where Idaho only lead 34 seconds in the entire game.

The Hawks were a sound team in all facets of the game today including at the free throw line. They shot 24-for-28 leaving them with 85.7 percent from the line.

UND was also able to capitalize on the struggling Vandals scoring 17 points off their nine turnovers. Idaho’s Victor Sanders could only manage 11 points on 5-of-17 shooting from the floor. Sanders entered the contest scoring more than 20 points per game. Sanders’ struggles was shown in the entire squad as well with the Vandals shooting 38.7 percent and 68.4 percent from the charity stripe.

“You have to give North Dakota credit, they were a step quicker than we were tonight in every aspect of the game,” Idaho head coach Don Verlin said.  “You look at the stat sheet at the end of the game, they just played harder than we did.  They made some shots early, we got in foul trouble early which didn’t help us.  We could never sustain any type of run tonight, especially offensively.  The bottom line is we got our tails kicked tonight.”

The Hawks also took advantage from beyond the three point line. While the Vandals managed to only shoot 21.1 percent for three while the Hawks shot an even 50 percent with the help of Hooker making three of his six shots from downtown.

To add insult to injury the Hawks were also able to get more boards as well grabbing 40 rebounds opposed to the Vandals 31.

With the 88 points scored UND now moves to 12-0 when scoring 80 or more points. The win also puts the Hawks (10-3) in sole possession of second place in the Big Sky behind only Weber State (9-2). The two will be facing each other for the second time this season on the eighteenth at Weber State. In January, when these two teams met last the Hawks handed the Bobcats a loss.

Before that pivotal matchup is played, UND still has a big game against Idaho State. The Bengals will be out for revenge after suffering a brutal defeat losing 89-64 to the Hawks.

“If we play defense the way we did this week, we’ll give ourselves a chance on the road,”  Jones said.

The Fighting Hawks will look to keep the momentum going with a three-game Big Sky road trip on Thursday Feb. 16 at Idaho State. Tip-off against the Bengals is set for 8:05 p.m. CT.

Jack Harvey is a staff writer for Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]