Southern Utah (11-19) vs. North Dakota (15-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 14, 7:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dahlberg Arena (7,500) -- Missoula, Montana. Television: none. Home Record: SUU 9-5, UND 9-5. Away Record: SUU 2-12, UND 6-10. Neutral Record: SUU 0-2, UND 0-0. Conference Record: SUU 8-12, UND 12-8. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: Sixth-seeded Southern Utah and third-seeded North Dakota also will meet in the quarterfinals of the Big Sky Tournament at Dahlberg Arena on Thursday evening.
Southern Utah comes into the postseason off four consecutive losses with the most recent a 68-61 setback to this same North Dakota team. The Thunderbirds have lost seven of their last eight outings and are seeking a reversal of fortunes in their first-ever foray into Big Sky Tournament play.
North Dakota ended the season a bit warmer with three straight wins to finish a solid 12-8 in its first season in the Big Sky, including beating Southern Utah in the regular-season finale. Overall, UND needed that late season surge to get to .500 on the year (15-15).
With a split of the season series, these two teams are knotted at 1-1 all-time against one another.
Southern Utah took the loss to UND despite a 16-point, eight-rebound performance from A.J. Hess. Damon Heuir scored 12 points and Cal Hanks managed 10 points and eight rebounds.
Jackson Stevenett has been the go-to-guy for SUU, scoring 17.7 ppg with 6.2 rpg while shooting over 45.0 percent from the field and a very impressive 86.9 percent from the free-throw line. Heuir is far behind, adding 15.8 ppg, while Stevenett and Hess each shoot well above 85.0 percent from the free-throw line.
UND was led by a 19-point performance from Jamal Webb who also managed nine rebounds, five assists, and four steals in the season-ending win. Josh Schuler added 16 points and Troy Huff contributed 15 points and seven rebounds.
Huff leads the team in scoring with a whopping 19.2 ppg but competed in just 22 games this season. Huff also grabs a team-high 7.1 rpg. Where UND struggles is on the defensive end, where it allows opponents to score just under 68.0 ppg.
In games played away from home, SUU has struggled going 0-2 in neutral games and 2-12 in true road games. After both teams took a win in the regular season it should be UND that comes out on top in this one as long as Huff does his part.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Dakota 66, Southern Utah 63
03/14 10:43:05 ET