North Dakota (7-11) at Northern Arizona (7-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 26, 4:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Walkup Skydome (7,000) -- Flagstaff, Arizona. Television: FSN-AZ+, FCS. Home Record: UND 6-3, NAU 4-3. Away Record: UND 1-8, NAU 2-8. Neutral Record: UND 0-0, NAU 1-1. Conference Record: UND 4-5, NAU 4-5. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The first-ever meeting between North Dakota and the Lumberjacks of Northern Arizona, now fellow members of the Big Sky Conference, is set to tip off on Saturday afternoon at Walkup Skydome in Flagstaff.
For the first time this season, the Lumberjacks are enjoying an actual win streak, although it does encompass a mere two games at this stage. The squad managed to snap a four-game slide last weekend with a 60-55 triumph over Idaho State on the road and then followed up with a narrow 67-65 victory at home versus Northern Colorado two nights ago in a game that came down to the wire.
Now sporting a 4-5 record in conference play, the 'Jacks are tied with Sacramento State, Southern Utah and North Dakota for fourth place in the standings heading into the weekend.
UND, one of the new additions to the league, was also in action on Thursday night and was aiming to extend a win streak of its own, but the team was downed by Sacramento State in a 67-58 final.
North Dakota shot just 37.3 percent from the floor against the Hornets the last time out, and was outscored at the free-throw line by a 21-11 margin, which was more than enough to snap the team's run of success. Troy Huff carried much of the load for the squad with his game-high 24 points, adding nine rebounds while also connecting on 3-of-6 behind the 3-point line, while Aaron Anderson responded with 14 points, but made just 3-of-11 from the field. Huff, who recently became the latest UND player to register 1,000 points for his career, has appeared in just 10 games in 2012-13 yet still paces the program in scoring with 18.1 ppg. In conference play that number is elevated to 19.4 ppg as he converts 44.5 percent of his field goal chances. Aaron Anderson checks in with another 17.9 ppg which means the pair makes up more than half of the unit's 68.7 ppg right now.
In a game that featured five ties and six lead changes, the Lumberjacks had the last laugh on Thursday night when Michael Dunn converted a floater along the baseline as time expired to give the hosts a two-point win. Dunn finished with just five points, but he also accounted for five rebounds, five assists and a couple of steals in a reserve role. Gabe Rogers produced a game-high 28 points on 11-of-19 shooting from the floor, followed by DeWayne Russell with 13 and six assists in the triumph as well. As far as conference games are concerned, Russell and Rogers are at the top of the scoring list with 16.1 ppg each, combining to make 32 of the unit's 43 3-pointers over the course of six outings. However, the competition is connecting on almost 40 percent beyond the arc and that is giving them a scoring edge of more than four points per contest.
With fresh legs, Huff is the reason for UND to be hopeful at this point in the campaign. As long as the visitors feed him the ball there will be a chance for a road win this weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Dakota 65, Northern Arizona 61
01/26 10:45:38 ET
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