GAME NOTES: After losing two games in a row, the University of North Dakota has won two straight and will look to make it a third as the team hosts the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks in Big Sky Conference action at Engelstad Arena.
Northern Arizona had a four-game win streak snapped by Northern Colorado Thursday in the team's most recent outing, losing to the Bears 87-72. It was Northern Arizona's second loss in the Big Sky this season.
Thanks to the two consecutive wins - both in Big Sky play - North Dakota is 4-3 in the conference standings, just two games out of first place. North Dakota defeated Sacramento State, 82-71, Thursday in league play.
The all-time series between these two programs is tied, 1-1, with a second game scheduled later this season on Feb. 22.
Northern Arizona and Northern Colorado nearly went basket-for-basket in the first half of their matchup Thursday in Greeley. Quinton Upshur scored 23 first-half points for the Lumberjacks on 9-of-10 shooting. The Lumberjacks shot an even 50 percent in the first half, but still trailed at the half, 42-29. Upshur finished the game with 32 points on 11-of-13 shooting, including a near-perfect 7-of-8 from 3-point distance. Kris Yanku netted 20 points off the bench for Northern Arizona, hitting 9-of-9 from the free-throw line.
Upshur leads the team in scoring this season, averaging 15.6 ppg on 46 percent shooting from the field. His 1.6 steals per contest is also a team high. Max Jacobsen is second on the Lumberjacks in scoring with 13.5 ppg on an impressive 58.8 percent shooting. Gaellan Bewernick leads the team in rebounding this season with 6.7 rpg, and Aaseem Dixon has a team-high 2.7 apg. The Lumberjacks average 68.3 ppg in 18 contests this season.
North Dakota survived a second-half push by Sacramento State in the team's last outing, as UND shot a season-best 57.8 percent from the floor in the contest. Troy Huff dominated the Hornets, netting 20 points and pulling down a career-high 14 rebounds for the double-double. Huff connected on 10-of-11 from the free-throw line in the game. Josh Schuler added 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting for North Dakota. UND shot its season-best percentage despite 26.7 percent (4-of-15) from beyond the 3-point arc.
Huff paces the team with 20.6 ppg this season, proving to be one of the better scorers in the Big Sky Conference. Huff adds a team-best 7.7 rpg and 39 steals to his season stat line. Jaron Nash is second on North Dakota, averaging 10.8 ppg, with Aaron Anderson not far behind with 10.5 ppg. Jamal Webb tops the squad with 48 assists on the year, and is second with 31 steals.
North Dakota has been playing well in its last two contests, but for Northern Arizona, the loss to Northern Colorado was a mere blip on the radar. The Lumberjacks have been playing as well as any team in the conference, and should get back in the win column after Saturday's matchup.
Game Date and Time