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UND to host Northern Iowa for just second time

GRAND FORKS -- Drick Berntstine and his University of North Dakota teammates found out about Northern Iowa's win over then-No. 1 North Carolina after a pregame team meal last week in Florida.They were surprised, as was most of the country. Howeve...

GRAND FORKS - Drick Berntstine and his University of North Dakota teammates found out about Northern Iowa’s win over then-No. 1 North Carolina after a pregame team meal last week in Florida.
They were surprised, as was most of the country.
However, they also knew they would have a chance to do something special Saturday at The Betty as Northern Iowa - coached by former UND standout and assistant coach Ben Jacobson - will play the Fighting Hawks.
“It puts us on a stage to make some noise,” said Bernstine. “It gives us an opportunity to do something.”
UND and Northern Iowa are no strangers when it comes to men’s basketball. The teams have played six times since 2008, with the Panthers winning all six.
Saturday’s game, however, will mark only the second time UNI has traveled to Grand Forks.
“I don’t know if our fans understand how hard it is to get a (Missouri) Valley team like Northern Iowa to come to Grand Forks. It just doesn’t happen that often on the men’s side,” said UND coach Brian Jones. “Those teams, even Northern Iowa, pay teams to come into their building to play - teams that are on our level.
“You really have to give credit to Ben for the willingness to do that.”
With its home win over North Carolina last week, UNI did not crack the Top 25 poll this week.
The Panthers were 2-1 heading into Wednesday night’s home game against Dubuque. The Panthers were picked third in the Missouri Valley preseason poll, behind powerful Wichita State and Evansville.
Jones said the Panthers, led by explosive guard Wes Washpun, could have another great season.
“They’ve had tremendous success for a while and they only lost four players from last year,” said Jones. “Ben has a special group this year. All season long, analysts have put UNI on the map as being giant-killers. Then they go out and get a great win.”
UND is 2-3 after falling to Youngstown State on Monday in the final round of a three-day tournament in Fort Myers, Fla.
“I love our team,” said Jones. “We’re getting better. We played at a high level the second half at Wisconsin and for the next two games. Then I really felt our youth and fatigue set in on the last day in Florida.
“I always talk to our guys about sustaining our focus and our effort. They’ve shown they can play when they’re dialed in.”

Related Topics: NORTH DAKOTA FIGHTING HAWKS
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