FACTS & STATS: Site: Ralston Arena (3,500) -- Omaha, Nebraska. Television: None. Home Record: UND 8-5, Nebraska Omaha 6-4. Away Record: UND 4-9, Nebraska Omaha 3-13. Neutral Record: UND 0-0, Nebraska Omaha 1-1. Conference Record: UND 9-8, Nebraska Omaha 6-8. Series Record: North Dakota leads, 45-32.
GAME NOTES: A couple of teams sporting records below the .500 mark take a break from their respective conference schedules on Saturday afternoon, as the Mavericks of Nebraska Omaha host North Dakota at Ralston Arena.
The Mavericks, now members of the Summit League, head into the weekend riding a modest two-game win streak thanks to a 79-75 victory over Chicago State earlier this week. The win moved the team to within two games of .500 (6-8) in conference play with just two more league bouts remaining.
As for North Dakota, now competing in the Big Sky Conference, it was in action three nights ago versus Northern Colorado on the road and pulled out a narrow 64-62 triumph, the second in the last three outings for the program.
North Dakota, which owns a 45-32 advantage in the all-time series, won the last meeting between the teams played in Omaha, posting a 69-62 victory back in 2006. The last game overall played between the squads took place during the 2008 NCC Tournament when the Mavericks posted a 75-68 victory.
Aaron Anderson shot 2-of-6 behind the 3-point line against the Bears earlier this week, the second of those conversions coming in the final seconds to give UND the road win over UNC. Anderson finished with 21 points, followed by Troy Huff and Shane Benton with 19 and 12 points, respectively, for a squad that picked up the win despite shooting just 6-of-20 out on the perimeter.
The only player to have started all 26 games for North Dakota, Anderson is second on the team in scoring with 13.7 ppg and at the same time has made himself available to clear 3.6 rpg and hand out 3.3 apg as he gets his hands into every aspect of the game for North Dakota. The leading scorer continues to be Huff with his 18.6 ppg, accounting for a team-best 7.4 rpg at the same time for UND.
Against Chicago State earlier this week, the Mavericks experienced a 20-point swing as they went from being up 11 points late in the first half to trailing by nine just eight minutes later. Luckily, Omaha knocked down 14-of-17 at the free-throw line after the break in order to come away with the close call at home. Justin Simmons stepped up with 26 points, six rebounds and four assists for the hosts, followed by CJ Carter and Caleb Steffensmeier with 15 and 14 points, respectively.
Unfortunately for the Mavs, their defense has been beaten rather soundly this season, giving up a lofty 81.8 ppg which is one of the highest averages in the nation at this stage. At the other end of the floor, Simmons tries to keep it together for Omaha with his 16.4 ppg, shooting 40.0 percent behind the 3-point line and also coming up with 4.1 rpg which is second on the unit. John Karhoff is responsible for 12.3 ppg as the team generates 71.2 ppg.
Because the Mavericks allow so many points, expect to see Huff and Anderson have their way on the road in this meeting.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Dakota 78, Nebraska Omaha 64
02/23 10:35:04 ET
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