Eastern Washington (14-14) at North Dakota (13-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 1, 3 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ralph Engelstad Arena (12,119) -- Grand Forks, North Dakota. Television: FCS, Midco. Home Record: Eastern Washington 9-3, North Dakota 9-3. Away Record: Eastern Washington 3-11, North Dakota 4-9. Neutral Record: Eastern Washington 2-0, North Dakota 0-2. Conference Record: Eastern Washington 9-8, North Dakota 10-7. Series Record: North Dakota leads, 4-1.
GAME NOTES: With three games remaining on the regular season schedule, the University of North Dakota men's basketball team will try and make up some ground in the Big Sky Conference standings, starting with a matchup against conference foe Eastern Washington Saturday at Engelstad Arena.
Eastern Washington has won four of its past five games, including an 80-66 victory over Northern Colorado in the Eagles' last outing on Thursday. The Eagles have improved drastically in their past eight games, and now own a 9-8 record in the conference.
North Dakota has won two in a row and three of its past four altogether, and owns a 10-7 record in the Big Sky. UND checks in at three games back of conference leader Weber State with three contests left to play. North Dakota defeated Portland State 83-73 in the team's last outing.
North Dakota owns the lead in the short all-time series with Eastern Washington, 4-1. UND has won four in a row in the series, though, and took down the Eagles back on Jan. 30, 73-61, in Cheney.
Eastern Washington jumped out ahead of Northern Colorado and led by 11 points at the end of the first half, 41-30. The Bears lost a bit of ground in the second half and dropped a lopsided contest to a high-flying Eagles offense. Tyler Harvey had another spectacular game, netting 31 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the floor, including 7-of-11 from 3-point range. Ognjen Miljkovic came off the bench to score 11 points for EWU, and Venky Jois chipped in 10 points before fouling out.
Harvey has played in several contest this season where he simply burst out offensively, which has led to his team-leading 22.1 ppg average and 46 percent shooting mark from 3-point distance. Harvey adds 4 rpg and 2.5 apg to his stat line. Jois checks in at second in scoring with 13.3 ppg on 52.6 percent shooting from the floor, and tops the Eagles in rebounding with 7.9 rpg. Drew Brandon is the third and final double-digit scorer for EWU this season at 11 ppg.
The last time North Dakota played Portland State this season, which was on the road, UND committed 18 turnovers and the Vikings capitalized with 22 points off turnovers in what would eventually be a two-point win for PSU. This contest was different, as North Dakota went ahead at the end of the first period and only continued to build its lead in the second half. Troy Huff netted 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds to pace the home squad, while Aaron Anderson chipped in 12 points and Josh Schuler added 11.
Huff, a senior, has had a dominating two years in the Big Sky Conference since North Dakota's transition to the league. Huff leads the team in scoring this season with 19.6 ppg on 46.5 percent shooting. Huff leads the team in rebounding with a 7.3 rpg mark, and in steals with 67 on the year. Anderson is second in scoring behind Huff with 10.4 ppg, and Jaron Nash is third at 10.3 ppg. Jamal Webb leads North Dakota with a 3.3 apg average and has recorded 47 steals.
When Eastern Washington gets an offensive outburst like it did on Thursday, the Eagles can be nearly impossible to stop. But the consistency hasn't been there all season, and North Dakota has found a rhythm since it started conference play. At home, UND should be able to slow the Eagles' fast-paced offense.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Dakota 78, Eastern Washington 72
03/01 11:07:16 ET