North Dakota (10-12) at Montana (17-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 9, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dahlberg Arena (7,500) -- Missoula, Montana. Television: None. Home Record: UND 7-4, Montana 10-1. Away Record: UND 3-8, Montana 7-2. Neutral Record: UND 0-0, Montana 0-1. Conference Record: UND 7-6, Montana 13-0. Series Record: Montana leads, 8-5.
GAME NOTES: The Montana Grizzlies shoot for the longest winning streak in the history of Big Sky Conference play as they match up against North Dakota at Dahlberg Arena on Saturday night.
Montana was in action on Thursday night when it defeated Northern Colorado by a final of 73-63 and in the process won for the 24th time in as many league outings, tying the Big Sky record for consecutive league wins set by Weber State between the 1967-68 campaign and the 1969-70 season. The Grizzlies are currently riding a 13-game win streak.
As for North Dakota, one of the newest additions to the Big Sky, it has been playing well in recent weeks with a total of six wins in eight opportunities. Two nights ago UND registered an 82-73 victory over Montana State on the road in order to move to 7-6 in league play which puts the squad in a tie with the Bobcats for fourth place in the standings heading into the weekend.
Montana won the first meeting of the season by a score of 77-62 last month as Mathias Ward delivered 27 points and the Grizzlies won for the eighth time in 13 all-time matchups with UND.
The Grizzlies held Northern Colorado to just nine made field goals in the first half on Thursday night and then 10 after the break, allowing the hosts to capture the double-digit win. Offensively, Montana connected on 52.0 percent from the field as Kareem Jamar accounted for 18 points, Ward 14 points and Will Cherry 13 in the triumph. A starter in all 21 games for the Grizzlies this season, Ward leads the group in scoring with 15.1 ppg, shooting 51.4 percent from the floor. Jamar checks in with another 13.9 ppg to go along with 6.0 rpg as well as a team-best 89 assists, while Cherry accounts for 13.1 ppg and another 67 dishes, even though he is shooting just 27.7 percent from 3- point range as the program makes a more respectable 39.8 percent beyond the arc.
Trailing by three points at the break on Thursday night against Montana State, North Dakota erupted for 60.0 percent shooting from the floor in the second half in order to pull ahead en route to the nine-point road win. Troy Huff was the top man with 25 points as he knocked down 10-of-17 shots from the floor, while Aaron Anderson delivered 17 points. Shane Benton tacked on 13 points, five rebounds and three steals off the bench, while Jamal Webb was responsible for 12 points and a game-high six assists. Huff, the leading scorer for UND in six of the last seven outings, is dialing up his effort in conference play with 19.5 ppg, adding 7.4 rpg in those contest, but that still doesn't make up for just having 17 total assists over 14 games.
Montana has been unstoppable this season, particularly at home where it has fallen only once. North Dakota has improved tremendously from earlier in the campaign, but the team is still not ready to give the Grizzlies a run for their money at Dahlberg Arena.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Montana 77, North Dakota 65
02/09 10:44:08 ET