Southern Utah (11-18) at North Dakota (14-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 9, 3 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Betty Engelstad Sioux Center (3,300) -- Grand Forks,
North Dakota. Television: None. Home Record: Southern Utah 9-5, UND 8-5. Away
Record: Southern Utah 2-11, UND 6-10. Neutral Record: Southern Utah 0-2, UND
0-0. Conference Record: Southern Utah 8-11, UND 11-8. Series Record: Southern
Utah leads, 1-0.
GAMES NOTES: In the regular-season finale the Southern Utah Thunderbirds will
take on North Dakota in a Big Sky Conference tussle at the Betty Engelstad
Sioux Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Thunderbirds are really struggling down the stretch as a 66-58 setback
against Northern Colorado was their sixth loss in the last seven games. The
Thunderbirds are now just 11-18 overall and 8-11 in league action but they
remain alive in their quest for a Big Sky Conference Tournament bid. Southern
Utah is tied with Northern Arizona and Sacramento State for the two final
spots in the seven-team field.
North Dakota already has its tournament fate sealed. With an 11-8 record in
league action North Dakota has secured the No. 3 seed in the upcoming Big Sky
Tournament. The team has won three of its last four games as it enters the
When these teams met in December it was not only the first meeting between
them as league foes but the first meeting all-time. Southern Utah secured a
79-67 win in that historic matchup.
Southern Utah was downed by Northern Colorado, 66-58, on Thursday night.
Jackson Stevenett poured in a game-high 25 points in the contest but no other
player got into double figures for the Thunderbirds, who shot just 41.7
percent from the field.
Stevenett (18.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and Damon Heuir (15.9 ppg) have led the
Thunderbirds this season as not only one of the better scoring tandems in the
conference but the only players on the roster putting in more than seven
points per game. The pair rank second and third, respectively in the
conference in scoring but Heuir's four-point effort last time out was the
third time in the last five games he has failed to score more than 10 points.
As a team the Thunderbirds are the second worst shooting team in the Big Sky
(.414) which has given them plenty of opportunities on the glass. Luckily
Southern Utah leads the Big Sky in rebounds (37.3 pg).
In its most recent outing North Dakota took home a 78-74 win against Eastern
Washington. North Dakota led by as many as 14 points in the game and never
trailed en route to the four-point victory. The key for North Dakota was its
20-8 edge in points off turnovers.
Troy Huff (19.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.3 bpg) is one of the better interior players
in the conference. Although he does not qualify to fit in among league leaders
after missing eight games this season, if he did, Huff would lead the league
in scoring and be ranked among the top five players in blocks and rebounds as
well. Aaron Anderson (14.0 ppg, 3.4 apg) and Jamal Webb (9.2 ppg, 4.0 apg)
are a solid tandem in the backcourt as both scorers and distributors. Despite
Huff's efforts North Dakota is still scoring just 67.1 points per game which
is the third worst mark in the conference.
All the motivation in this game is on Southern Utah's side as it desperately
needs a win to really have a chance at the Big Sky Tournament. Expect the
Thunderbirds to use that motivation and to ride Stevenett and Heuir once again
to a victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Southern Utah 70, North Dakota 67
03/09 10:46:06 ET
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