Northern Arizona (9-16) at North Dakota (11-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 16, 3:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Betty Engelstad Sioux Center (3,300) -- Grand Forks, North Dakota. Television: Midco Sports, FCS. Home Record: NAU 5-5, UND 8-4. Away Record: NAU 3-10, UND 3-9. Neutral Record: NAU 1-1, UND 0-0. Conference Record: NAU 6-9, UND 9-7. Series Record: North Dakota leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: In the midst of a three-game road trip, the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks land at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center in Grand Forks for the first time ever on Saturday afternoon to do battle with North Dakota in Big Sky Conference action.
On Thursday night, the Lumberjacks began their stretch away from home with a 76-68 loss at Northern Colorado. The setback was the second in a row for the program and dropped them to 6-9 in league play, which means they are tied with UNC for seventh place in the Big Sky standings heading into the weekend.
As for North Dakota, it too was in action two nights ago, but in that case the team played just well enough to slip by Sacramento State with a 49-48 victory. The win was the third in four tries for UND which is now tied with Southern Utah for third place in the Big Sky with a record of 8-7 and trailing only Montana and Weber State at the moment.
North Dakota squeezed out a narrow 81-79 win on the road in the first meeting of the season late last month, which means UND now owns a 1-0 advantage in the all-time series.
The team shot a healthy 56.2 percent from the field on Thursday night at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion in Greeley, Colorado but that efforts was nullified by the 23 turnovers logged by the Lumberjacks against Northern Colorado. Gabe Rogers posted a team-best 23 points and DeWayne Russell chipped in 15 off the bench for the visitors. However Stallon Saldivar, who last week posted the first triple-double in school history, had just seven points and five assists, against seven turnovers.
On a team that is scoring a modest 67.4 ppg through 25 games, Rogers (17.4 ppg) and Russell (14.5 ppg) are combining for a huge chunk of that offense and have also done what they can to get teammates involved with collective 128 assists as well. The duo has gotten together to make 102 of the team's 140 3- point conversions as well, so really it is rare for anyone else on the roster to pose a real threat.
Troy Huff logged a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds as he helped lead North Dakota to a slim 49-48 win over the Sacramento State Hornets in Big Sky Conference action at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center on Valentine's Day. Lenny Antwi made good on 3-of-5 shots behind the 3-point line for North Dakota as he chipped in with nine points off the bench for a squad that survived despite shooting only 34.5 percent from the floor and 5-of-19 on the perimeter.
While he has come off the bench in four of the 14 league bouts that he has appeared in, Huff has been a scoring dynamo for UND as he averages 19.3 ppg. Not only is he pulling down 7.4 rpg to place second on the unit, he is also dragging defenders out beyond the 3-point line where he is shooting 20-of-60 as one of the more reliable perimeter threats for the group at the moment. Aaron Anderson (14.2 ppg) and Jamal Webb (9.9 ppg) have combined to account for 105 of the squad's 165 assists in conference play.
As long as North Dakota can keep both Rogers and Russell from being too productive at the offensive end of the floor, the hosts should be lining up for yet another win this weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Dakota 66, Northern Arizona 61
02/16 10:45:26 ET