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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 22, 8:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Walkup Skydome (11,230) -- Flagstaff, Arizona. Television: FSN-AZ. Home Record: North Dakota 8-3, Northern Arizona 7-3. Away Record: North Dakota 3-9, Northern Arizona 4-10. Neutral Record: North Dakota 0-2, Northern Arizona 0-2. Conference Record: North Dakota 7-7, Northern Arizona 8-7. Series Record: North Dakota leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: The Northern Arizona Lumberjacks have lost two games in a row, and will attempt to get back in the win column as they host the University of North Dakota in a Big Sky Conference matchup at the Walkup Skydome.
North Dakota is coming off a 71-65 defeat at the hands of Sacramento State Thursday night in California. UND had lost four of its last six games, falling to 8-7 in the Big Sky this season.
Northern Arizona has dropped two in a row and three of its last five contests, including a 74-59 decision against Northern Colorado Thursday. The Lumberjacks are tied with North Dakota in the Big Sky at 8-7 in conference play.
UND holds the slim (and short) all-time series lead with Northern Arizona, 2-1. The two teams met earlier this season on Jan. 25, which resulted in an 84-68 North Dakota victory in Grand Forks.
Sacramento State took a strong 15-point lead into the intermission against North Dakota Thursday night, but UND slowly chipped away at that deficit in the second period. But the Hornets didn't subside that easily, holding on for the six-point win. Jamal Webb was the only UND player to net a scoring total in the double digits, connecting on 7-of-15 shooting for 23 points, adding eight rebounds to his stat line. North Dakota shot 39.3 percent from the floor in the contest.
Troy Huff, who had eight points against Sacramento State in the team's last outing, leads the team in scoring this season at an impressive 19.1 ppg, connecting on 46.3 percent of his shot attempts from the floor. Jaron Nash is behind him at 11 ppg, and Aaron Anderson checks in at third on the UND team with 10.6 ppg. Huff tops the squad in rebounding at 7.4 rpg, and Webb (who averages 6.9 ppg) leads UND with 3.1 apg and 46 steals on the year. North Dakota is averaging 73.4 ppg this season, and giving up 74 ppg to its opposition.
Northern Colorado jumped ahead of Northern Arizona at the end of the first half by 10 points and never looked back, as the Bears continued to build on their lead in the second frame and coast to victory. Kris Yanku was the only Lumberjacks player to score a double-digit point total in the contest, netting 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field. Quinton Upshur chipped in with eight points and two steals, hitting the only two 3-pointers of the game for NAU.
Upshur has been a bright spot for Northern Arizona this season, leading the team in scoring with 15.4 ppg on 44.9 percent shooting from the floor. Upshur shows his versatility with his 3.4 rpg average, 24 assists and team-leading 47 steals. Max Jacobsen is second in scoring on the team with 12 ppg, and Aaseem Dixon is right behind him at 11.9 ppg. Gaellan Bewernick tops the Lumberjacks with 6.2 rpg, and Yanku is the team leader with 67 assists on the year.
North Dakota got the better of Northern Arizona at home by nearly 20 points earlier this season. The shift to Flagstaff likely won't be enough to swing the 16 points back in NAU's favor, but if Upshur, Yanku and Jacobsen can play at a slightly above average level, the Lumberjacks would have the edge. Lately for NAU, that's a pretty big "if."
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Dakota 73, Northern Arizona 65
02/22 10:15:32 ET
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