GAME NOTES: North Dakota will be trying to stop a losing streak on the road as it gets set to face the Bowling Green Falcons in a non-league tussle at the Stroh Center.
On Saturday North Dakota visited Butler and dropped a 79-64 decision to the Bulldogs. The loss was the fourth-straight for North Dakota, which is just 2-5 overall and has not won a single game outside of Grand Forks. North Dakota will be back in its hometown for its next two games against Presentation College and South Dakota State.
Bowling Green came roaring back to force overtime on the road against Xavier last time out. However, the Falcons came up short in the 85-73 decision for its second loss in the last three games. The Falcons have been only slightly better than North Dakota in terms of overall wins and losses (3-5). Bowling Green will visit Morehead State next.
These teams met for the first time last season and it was host North Dakota that edged out a 56-53 victory.
In a game that was decided long before the final whistle, North Dakota just didn't have enough success offensively to overcome Butler. North Dakota hit only 36.9 percent of their field goal attempts, including a miserable 8-of-28 showing during the first half that dug them into a 39-22 deficit at halftime. North Dakota would go on to trail by as many as 28 points in the second half.
The bigger problem this season for North Dakota has been on the defensive end of the floor. North Dakota is allowing 83.1 points per game and a 51.4 percent success rate on field-goal attempts to its opponents. Both of those marks rank right near the bottom of the nation. Troy Huff (22.7 ppg, 7.6 rpg) carries perhaps too much of the load offensively for the squad. Huff finished with 20 points in the loss to Butler for his third straight 20-point effort and fifth overall this season. Aaron Anderson (13.3 ppg) and Jaron Nash (11 ppg) fill in as the next best scoring options.
Bowling Green closed out the second half on a 17-6 run against Xavier to overcome an 11-point deficit and force overtime. In the extra session the Falcons' luck ran out as they hit just 1-of-6 shots from the floor.
Despite their losing record the Falcons actually own a slight advantage in terms of scoring margin (+0.4). Prolific scoring isn't the reason, as the Falcons are netting only 68 points per game. There is not a ton of depth on the roster with only two reserves playing more than seven minutes per game. Spencer Parker (13.1 ppg) represents the leading offensive option, while Richaun Holmes (12.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.6 bpg) leads on the glass and is netting 55.2 percent of his field-goal attempts. Jehvon Clarke (11.8 ppg, 4.8 apg) and Anthony Henderson (11.8 ppg) make their living in the backcourt.
With how successful the Falcons can be on defense, especially with Holmes patrolling the paint, they should be able to limit Huff and force North Dakota's other scorers to pick up the slack. That recipe won't end well for North Dakota on the road.
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