Basketball: UND Men and Women Eke Out Big Sky Victories

Men need OT to beat Northern Colorado, Women win 57-51

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (UND Athletics) — Senior Quinton Hooker scored nine of his game-high 26 points in overtime to lift North Dakota to an 87-77 victory over Northern Colorado in men’s Big Sky basketball action Saturday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

Hooker’s 3-pointer to open the extra session gave the Fighting Hawks (13-8, 8-3 BSC) their first lead since holding a 4-2 advantage early in the contest. The Big Sky Preseason Player of the Year was one of five UND players to finish in double figures and also added a career-high six steals in another tight contest with the Bears (8-14, 4-7 BSC).

“Talk about a resilient group. The last four minutes of regulation showed a lot of grit and sticktoitiveness,” UND head coach Brian Jones said. “It wasn’t pretty, but a couple of plays sparked us late and in overtime, we were phenomenal offensively and defensively. We knew this game wasn’t going to come easy.”

Over the last three seasons, there has not been a more competitive matchup in the Big Sky and it showed again in this one as the Bears led by as many as 14 points and held the advantage for a majority of the contest before Geno Crandall squared things at 64-64 with an offbalance-baseline jumper with 1:47 to play. The last three meetings in this series were decided by one point and the one before that stretch was also an overtime affair.

Chaz Glotta then put the visitors back in the lead with his fourth 3-pointer of the game on the Bears’ next possession. Glotta finished with a team-high 22 points for UNC, but Conner Avants had an answer for UND as his 3-point play drew things even again with 41 seconds to go.

Hooker came up with his sixth steal of the game on UNC’s next trip and was fouled after racing the ball down the court. The senior calmly put UND ahead 69-67 with a pair of free throws and only nine seconds remaining in the contest.

UNC sophomore Jordan Davis, who had 18 points for the Bears, took the inbounds pass and flew down the hardwood to make a game-tying jumper that forced overtime.

Hooker and company owned the extra five minutes. UND scored the first nine points and never trailed after Hooker’s second trey of the game.

UNC would close within three at 80-77 on a layup by Davis with 56 seconds to play, but Hooker and Cortez Seales would seal the win with four-straight makes from the charity line. Seales finished with all 11 of his points after halftime.

Avants finished with 15 points, while Crandall and Baldwin, who both fouled out in regulation, closed out UND’s quintet of double-figure scorers with 13 and 12 points, respectively.

After making their first six shots from the floor to open the game, the Bears stretched their lead to its peak at 32-18 after a 3-point play by Robert Vercellino with just over seven minutes to left in the first half. Redshirt freshman Jonah Radebaugh, who had 11 points for the Bears, connected on his first three shots from beyond the arc to propel the fast start for the visitors.

 

The Fighting Hawks would regroup at that point trim the deficit down to just two by halftime. The home team closed the half on a 17-5 run in those closing seven minutes. Baldwin and Hooker each had nine points for UND, who got all 35 of its points from starters in the opening 20 minutes.

Junior Drick Bernstine posted his eight double-digit rebounding game with 10 boards and helped UND hold a 40-34 edge on the glass. Four of his rebounds came on the offensive end and he came up with some key blocks at the close of regulation.

UND remains at home next week for a pair of Big Sky games. The first of those is set for Thursday as Eastern Washington arrives in Grand Forks tied with the Fighting Hawks for second-place in the league standings. Tip-off against the Eagles is set for 7:05 p.m. CT.

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