DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 28, 10:35 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Peter W. Stott Center (1,500) -- Portland, Oregon.
Television: None. Home Record: UND 8-5, PSU 8-4. Away Record: UND 4-10, PSU
0-12. Neutral Record: UND 0-0, PSU 0-0. Conference Record: UND 9-8, PSU 5-11.
Series Record: North Dakota leads, 3-0.
GAME NOTES: Back to the business of Big Sky Conference basketball, North
Dakota makes a stop in Oregon to do battle with the Portland State Vikings at
the Stott Center on Thursday night.
North Dakota may be one of the newest additions to the league, but it sure
hasn't played that way, currently sitting third in the standings behind only
Montana and Weber State with a record of 9-8. Last weekend, UND took a break
from the monotony of conference play to challenge Nebraska Omaha and
unfortunately came up short in an 83-75 final, which means the group has now
alternated wins and loses over the last six games.
As for the Vikings, they are at the other end of the standings with just five
wins in 16 chances, settling in just above last-place Idaho State entering
play on Thursday night. However, there has been some positive play for PSU of
late, the team winning three straight games thanks to a 66-58 victory over UC
Riverside in non-conference play last Saturday.
North Dakota's 85-76 win at home in Grand Forks last month boosted the team's
advantage in the all-time series with the Vikings to 3-0.
Locked at 41-41 at the break against Omaha over the weekend, North Dakota then
shot just 35.1 percent from the floor in the second half while allowing the
hosts to connect on 50 percent and take the win. Troy Huff, who shot only 2-
of-7 at the free-throw line, the team 9-of-19, finished with a game-high 21
points to go along with seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. Aaron
Anderson contributed another 19 points and five dishes for the squad as well.
Scoring 18.7 ppg this season, Huff has boosted his efforts against league
members to 19.3 ppg, adding 7.3 rpg in those Big Sky battles. Anderson, who
leads the team in assists over 27 starts with 91, has also seen his scoring
average increase from 13.9 ppg against all opponents to 15.2 ppg versus league
foes, thanks in part to his 42.9 percent accuracy behind the 3-point line in
those 17 conference bouts.
PSU trailed by as many as eight points in the second half, but the team put
together a 16-0 scoring run in order to assume control and eventually take the
eight-point win over UC Riverside last Saturday afternoon. Aaron Moore stepped
up with 13 points and a team-best nine rebounds, while Michael Harthun knocked
down 3-of-4 shots from beyond the arc in order to come up with a team-best 15
points. Gary Winston tacked on 10 points as the squad outscored the
Highlanders by an 18-8 margin at the free-throw line.
As was the case with UND, the Vikings have also seen a scoring increase when
it comes to conference games and that goes for Moore as well who is shooting
54.4 percent from the field en route to 15.1 ppg. Responsible for 7.5 rpg,
Moore has given the team enough of a lift in the paint in order to give them a
rebounding advantage of 1.5 rpg versus league opponents. Renado Parker (12.0
ppg) is also not afraid to get physical in the paint, resulting in another 6.2
rpg, but no one else is pulling down even 3.0 rpg at this point in time.
UND's record on the road this season hasn't been all that spectacular, but the
team needs to put some distance between itself and the rest of the pack in the
Big Sky so winning this game is crucial.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Dakota 72, Portland State 64