North Dakota (9-12) at Montana State (10-10) (ET)
GAME NOTES: North Dakota tries to inch closer to having a .500 record on the season, as the squad challenges the Montana State Bobcats in Big Sky Conference play at Worthington Arena on Thursday night.
North Dakota, which is new to the Big Sky this season, started the 2012-13 campaign with just one win in the first six outings and that victory wasn't even against a Division I foe (Crown College). Since then the team has been fighting its way back towards .500, and at this point the group is three games short of that standard.
Last Saturday, UND clashed with Idaho State at home and completed the season sweep of the Bengals with a 69-52 victory, the second win in the last three outings for the squad as it leveled off in league play at 6-6.
As for the Bobcats, they've managed to move into a tie with Southern Utah for third place in the Big Sky standings with a record of 7-5, thanks to a 70-64 win versus Portland State over the weekend. The victory was the fourth in the last five games for MSU and brought the team to an even 10-10 on the campaign overall.
North Dakota won the first meeting of the season at home last month with an 86-73 score, as Jamal Webb scored 23 points and handed out seven assists, while Aaron Anderson and Troy Huff both delivered 20 points for the hosts. Christian Moon was the high man for Montana State with 21 points as he shot 5- of-11 behind the 3-point line.
With that earlier victory, North Dakota locked up the all-time series with the Bobcats at eight games apiece.
Against an Idaho State team that had just four wins in 20 opportunities on Saturday, UND held the visitors to a mere eight field goals in the first half and 38.0 percent shooting from the floor overall. At the offensive end of the floor, Troy Huff led all scorers with 21 points and also claimed 11 rebounds, while Aaron Anderson produced 16 points and five assists and Jamal Webb 12 points and seven dishes for a squad that turned the ball over just five times on the afternoon. Although he has come off the bench in four of the 11 conference games in which he has appeared, Huff has been the offensive force behind the team's solid play, scoring 19.0 ppg and pulled down 7.6 rpg. Anderson is good for another 15.9 ppg, thanks to his 45.2 percent effort behind the 3-point line, not to mention coming up with 40 assists.
Flavien Davis led the way for Montana State the last time out with his game- high 22 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the floor, adding six rebounds, as the Bobcats took care of business on the road against Portland State on Saturday. Also scoring in double figures for MSU were backups Antonio Biglow and Calen Coleman with 12 and 11 points, respectively, the former also being responsible for seven of the unit's 12 assists in the outing as well. Davis, the leading scorer in each of the last three games, is second on the team in that department right now with 10.9 ppg, trailing only Christian Moon who has dropped in 13.6 ppg, but appeared in only 12 of the squad's 20 games. In conference outings Davis has narrowed the gap in scoring with his 12.3 ppg, compared to 12.9 ppg for Moon.
North Dakota has just two road wins in 10 games this season, but this might be one of the opportunities for the squad to show some strong play away from home, especially since UND has already gained confidence with an earlier win versus the Bobcats.
GAME NOTES: North Dakota tries to inch closer to having a .500 record on the
season, as the squad challenges the Montana State Bobcats in Big Sky
Conference play at Worthington Arena on Thursday night.Fact Stats
FACTS & STATS: Site: Worthington Arena (7,250) -- Bozeman, Montana.
Television: None. Home Record: UND 7-4, MSU 8-2. Away Record: UND 2-8, MSU
2-8. Neutral Record: UND 0-0, MSU 0-0. Conference Record: UND 6-6, MSU 7-5.
Series Record: Series is tied, 8-8.Game Date and Time
Thursday, February 7, 9:05 p.m. (et)Predicted Outcome
North Dakota 72, Montana State 67