Men’s Basketball: UND Falls on Senior Day to Northern Colorado

Connor Avantz records his third double-double of the season.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (UND Athletics) — In a series that had grown accustomed to some tight contests, Northern Colorado broke a trend with a 79-66 victory over North Dakota Saturday in Big Sky play. The 13-point victory for the Bears (19-10, 10-6 BSC) was the largest win in the series for either team since 2013. The last three contests had all been decided in overtime.

This one was never really in doubt as Northern Colorado opened the game on an 8-2 run and never trailed.

“There were some big possessions where if we had made a shot to cut (the deficit) to nine or eight, but we just could not get over that hump,” UND head coach Brian Jones said. “Give them credit, they would come down and hit a big shot or get fouled to kind of stall our momentum.”

Junior Conner Avants registered his third double-double of the season to pace the Fighting Hawks (10-18, 5-11 BSC). He finished with 19 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, while classmate Cortez Seales added a game-high 20 points in the loss.

Junior Geno Crandall and sophomore Marlon Stewart also reached double figures for UND, finishing with 15 and 10 points, respectively.

The Fighting Hawks tried to battle through this one without the services of senior Dale Jones, who was honored in a special pre-game ceremony to commemorate his one season with the program.

UNC sophomore Jonah Radebaugh scored a season-high 19 points and finished with a double-double after equaling his season-high in rebounds with 11.

He also connected on a season-high five 3-pointers, while the Bears held UND without one for the first time in the program’s Division I era (since 2008-09).

“They’re a good team,” Jones added. “They are one of the best defensive teams in our league and, obviously, that showed tonight. We did not make a 3-pointer and they are the best team in the country at taking away those in the country.”

Radebaugh hit a trio of his triples in the first half that stretched UNC’s lead to its peak at 42-23 with 3:57 to play.

UND would trim that deficit down to 45-34 at the break after closing the half on an 11-3 run.

The Fighting Hawks would pull within seven following a pair of free throws by Seales with just over 12 minutes to play, but that would be as the close as the home team would get.

The Bears build their big first-half lead thanks to shooting 60 percent from the floor. They cooled off after halftime, making just 36 percent after the break.

Avants had the final basket of the half and finished with 12 of his points on 5-of-7 shooting.

Radebaugh’s effort on the glass helped UNC hold a 35-33 edge in that category and both teams turned it over 13 times.

This was the final Big Sky regular-season home game for the Fighting Hawks, who will wrap up their sixth and final season as a league member on the road next week at Sacramento State and Portland State.

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