UND Picks Up Another Big Sky Win

Fighting Hawks defeat Idaho State 89-64.

Courtesy UND Athletics

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Senior Corey Baldwin scored a career-high 23 points and another dominant second half by North Dakota led the Fighting Hawks to an 89-64 victory over Idaho State in men’s Big Sky basketball action Saturday.

After trailing at the half for the second-straight game, UND (11-7, 6-2 BSC) blistered the nets once again after the break to rally for a league victory that keeps the Fighting Hawks near the top of the Big Sky standings.

Baldwin and crew knocked down 10 3-pointers on only 14 attempts after halftime. The Bridgeport, Conn., native buried five of those to give him a career-best seven makes from distance.

UND shot 74 percent from the floor in the second half in the six-point win over Weber State on Thursday and shot 67 percent today. The hot shooting allowed the Fighting Hawks to outscore the Bengals 54-28 after halftime.

UND’s first-half deficit could have been much larger as the Bengals (3-14, 1-5 BSC) raced out to a 26-11 lead in the opening eight minutes of the contest. The home team took that punch and settled in to erase that deficit with a 24-6 run that spanned nearly 10 minutes.

ISU would regain the lead late in the half and take a 36-35 advantage into its locker room. The lead would be short-lived for the visitors in the second half after UND’s Conner Avantz opened the half with back-to-back baskets, then Baldwin drilled a pair of 3-pointers to give the Fighting Hawks a 10-0 start.

Junior Drick Bernstine, who finished with a season-high 14 points, put UND up 61-51 at the midway point and the home team’s advantage would never get back to single digits.

Sophomore Cortez Seales added 12 points off the bench for UND, whose reserves outscored the Bengals’ bench 28-3 in what was the ninth-straight victory over ISU, who has yet to beat the Fighting Hawks as a Big Sky member.

Seales was one of five Fighting Hawks to sink both of his free throw attempts as the team finished 10-for-10 in the contest. ISU managed to shoot just 8-for-19 from the stripe.

Senior Quinton Hooker rounded out a quartet of double-figure scores for UND with 16 points. He also dished out a team-high six assists.

UND’s defense also limited ISU to just a 31 percent clip from the floor in the second half after the visitors shot 53.6 percent in the opening 20 minutes. Geno Luzcando and Novak Topalovic each led the Bengals with 18 points, while Ethan Telfair added 15.

Telfair, a first-team All-Big Sky performer from a year ago, opened the game 4-for-4 from the field and had 11 first-half points, but went just 2-for-17 after his hot start. Topalovic’s 18 points is a new career-high for the seven-foot sophomore. Telfair added a game-high seven assists.

Bernstine led all players with eight rebounds, helping UND to a 36-32 edge in that category.

UND returns to the road next week with games at Southern Utah (Thursday) and Northern Arizona (Saturday).

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