UND bounces back, takes down Montana StateGRAND FORKS — A day earlier, University of North Dakota point guard Aaron Anderson gained some notoriety as the winter’s first storm was named after him — Blizzard Aaron.
By: Wayne Nelson, Forum News Service
GRAND FORKS — A day earlier, University of North Dakota point guard Aaron Anderson gained some notoriety as the winter’s first storm was named after him — Blizzard Aaron.
If it’s a long winter, Jamal Webb did all he could to have the Herald name a later blizzard after the UND junior guard.
Webb’s career-high 23 points led UND to an 86-73 win against Montana State on Saturday before a season-high 1,897 fans at The Betty.
UND, which rebounded from a disappointing home loss against Montana two days earlier, improved to 2-4 in the Big Sky Conference and 5-10 overall, while Montana State dropped to 3-3 and 6-8.
“I’m not trying to get a blizzard named after me, not here,” said Webb, a Buffalo, N.Y., native. “The blizzards here are bad.”
But Webb was good throughout, hitting 3-pointers and scoring on drives to the rim against Montana State’s zone defense. He was 9-for-11 from the field, and made all five of his 3-point attempts.
UND wasn’t in a must-win situation, but it was close. After a poor second-half performance cost UND a win against Montana on Thursday, North Dakota needed to gain some traction in the league — especially as it is in the midst of a four-game homestand.
UND never had major lulls like it did against the Grizzlies.
“There still is a lot of the season left,” said UND coach Brian Jones. “You don’t want to put a lot of pressure on your guys when some of them are lacking confidence from tough losses. One of the things you want to focus on is giving your best. If your best isn’t good enough, so be it.
“Our guys went out there, got on the floor, flew around and made some shots. There were a lot of good things out there that really weren’t there in the second 20 minutes against Montana.”
UND bolted to a 25-12 lead halfway through the first half and held a 42-33 lead at the break.
But the Bobcats, who had won four in a row, weren’t done. Montana State, led by Christian Moon’s 21 points, took a 57-55 lead on Paul Egwuonwu’s inside basket with 10:44 to go.
“But I could tell by our body language that our guys were still pretty confident,” Jones said. “We just needed to get stops on defense because we were getting great looks on offense.”
The stops came and UND regained the lead (62-59) on Josh Schuler’s 3-pointer with 8:56 to play.
The Bobcats tied it on their next possession, but Anderson gave UND the lead for good when he converted a three-point play for a 67-64 lead with 5:24 left.
From there, UND received two key inside baskets from Jordan Allard and hit its free throws down the stretch to secure the win.
Three UND players finished in double figures, a first for Jones during his tenure at UND. Anderson and Troy Huff each scored 20 as UND played mostly with a four-guard lineup.
“Energy came from everybody,” said Huff, whose athleticism was on display again.
On one Montana State possession, Huff scrambled for a loose ball in front of the Montana State bench. He kept the ball in play by leaping over the Bobcats’ bench. He then sprinted behind the scorer’s table to rejoin the play at the other end of the floor.
“That was the first time something like that has happened,” Huff said. “I was terrified the whole time.”
A few minutes later, Huff came up with a steal and finished with a crowd-pleasing slam.
“But everyone on this team can score,” Huff said.
MONTANA STATE (6-8, 3-3 Big Sky): Egwuonwu 4-8 8-9 16, Colbert 5-7 0-0 11, F. Davis 3-6 2-6 8, Blount 2-8 0-0 5, Moon 8-15 0-0 21, Brumwell 0-0 0-0 0, Dison 0-2 0-0 0, Biglow 0-0 0-0 0, Robison 0-0 0-0 0, Norman 1-5 2-2 5, Budinich 0-1 0-0 0, Coleman 2-8 2-2 7. Totals 25-60 14-19 73.
NORTH DAKOTA (5-10, 2-4 Big Sky): Anderson 4-6 11-12 20, Huff 7-15 5-9 20, Webb 9-11 0-0 23, Wilmer 0-0 1-2 1, Schuler 3-8 2-2 10, Antwi 1-3 0-0 3, Benton 0-2 0-0 0, Allard 2-6 1-2 5, Archer 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 28-53 20-27 86.
Halftime: UND 42-33. 3-pointers: Montana St. 9-28 (Moon 5-11, Colbert 1-1, Norman 1-3, Blount 1-4, Coleman 1-6, F. Davis 0-1, Budinich 0-1, Dison 0-1), UND 10-19 (Webb 5-5, Schuler 2-5, Antwi 1-1, Anderson 1-2, Huff 1-4, Allard 0-1, Benton 0-1). Fouled out: Archer, Egwuonwu. Technicals fouls: F. Davis, Wilmer, UND Bench. Rebounds: Montana St. 37 (Colbert, F. Davis 7), UND 31 (Huff 9). Assists: Montana St. 11 (Colbert 5), UND 14 (Webb 7). Total Fouls: Montana St. 20, UND 16. A: 1,897.