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GRAND FORKS - Since the University of North Dakota joined the Big Sky Conference in 2012, the schedule-makers haven't been necessarily kind to the Fighting Hawks. Each season, it seems, UND plays traditional Big Sky powers Montana and Weber State on back-to-back weekends. And that's happened again this season. Weber State will play UND at the Betty Engelstad Arena Thursday night in what could be the marquee home game of the season for the Fighting Hawks.
GRAND FORKS — With six minutes to play, Quinton Hooker — North Dakota's best player and arguably the best in the Big Sky Conference — headed to the bench. His day was done. That rarely happens in any league game. Yet, Hooker was done after scoring 23 points, grabbing 7 rebounds and dishing out 6 assists in leading UND to dominating 95-65 Big Sky win over Southern Utah on Saturday before 1,749 fans at The Betty. UND improved to 3-1 in the Big Sky and 8-6 overall while SUU, which had won two straight on the road, dropped to 2-1 and 4-12.
GRAND FORKS, N.D.—During the postgame handshakes, Northern Arizona coach Jack Murphy asked the Univerisity of North Dakota's Quinton Hooker when he's going to graduate. He knew the answer. Still, Hooker's graduation isn't soon enough for NAU and the rest of the Big Sky Conference. For UND, Hooker's graduation will be too soon as the senior guard again made the big plays down the stretch in leading the Fighting Hawks to a 68-63 Big Sky win over NAU on Thursday night before 1,518 fans at The Betty.
GRAND FORKS, N.D.—It's still early but it never hurts when ESPN's Joe Lunardi mentions your team when projecting the bracket for this season's March Madness. At least that's how University of North Dakota men's basketball coach Brian Jones looks at things after Lunardi's latest NCAA Tournament bracket predicts UND will reach this season's March Madness by winning the Big Sky Conference postseason title. The Big Sky season starts Thursday night as UND will open at Portland State, a team that has won its past four games.
IOWA CITY, Iowa—University of North Dakota basketball has deep ties to the state of Iowa. UND coach Brian Jones played at Northern Iowa; assistant Jeff Horner led the Hawkeyes to the Big Ten championship in 2006; and the program is targeting the state more and more in its recruiting. Whether UND gets another chance to play Iowa, however, may be up in the air after what happened after Tuesday night's game, Dec. 20, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, where the Hawkeyes beat the Fighting Hawks 84-73.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Nine days earlier, North Dakota State made one of 20 three-point attempts. The result was an embarrassing 18-point loss on its home floor against rival North Dakota. Nine days later, NDSU made the perimeter shots, played with poise, took a big crowd of the game and left the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center on Friday night with a convincing 87-70 win over UND before 2,428 fans. The tables were completely turned from the teams' earlier meeting. UND was the team that struggled from the from the perimeter and from the free-throw line.
GRAND FORKS, N.D.—North Dakota beat rival North Dakota State by 18 points nine days ago in Fargo. The rivals meet again Friday night at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. But UND coach Brian Jones isn't buying the idea that his team will be favored to sweep the series. "The stress level is as high for us as the first time we played them," said Jones. "Now, there are probably expectations by fans and others. But I've been a part of rivalries where you win on each other's floor.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Richmond didn't have much going, trailing 24-7 midway through third quarter. More than 9,500 Alerus Center fans were roaring, too, sensing North Dakota's first Division I FCS playoff win was within reach. Richmond, however, grabbed the momentum, thanks to a running-into-kicker penalty and, later, a blocked punt. And they kept grabbing until the Spiders stole a win. Thousands of stunned UND fans left the Alerus, likely amazed that the Spiders rallied for a 27-24 win and the right to take on Eastern Washington in the quarterfinals.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Three games into the season, the University of North Dakota sits with an 0-3 record — the latest loss coming Wednesday night at The Betty against Iowa of the Big Ten. Yet, UND coach Travis Brewster wasn't totally displeased by the 75-60 loss "There is no reason to be negative," said Brewster. "There is no reason to panic. Last year, we were 4-10 at one point. We've just got to keep embracing the process. This is a hard-working group we have. They'll come back and we'll be better."
GRAND FORKS, N.D.—University of North Dakota coach Bubba Schweigert was announced Tuesday as one of 15 finalists for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, which is given annually to the top coach in the Football Championship Subdivision. The list includes at least one representative from all 13 FCS conferences. STATS will present the Robinson Award at the national awards banquet on the eve of the NCAA Division I FCS Championship Game on Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas.