UND Men’s Basketball Gets First Win of Season Against South Dakota

Beat the Coyotes 75-71

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – (UND Athletics) In a game and city that makes you think of March, it was North Dakota outlasting South Dakota, 75-71, on Thursday afternoon from the Sanford Pentagon in the opening game of the CU Mortgage Direct Dakota Showcase from Sioux Falls.

In the first meeting between the programs since their Summit League Quarterfinals bout in March, UND (1-3) used a 14-0 run to end the first half and begin the second before holding off the Coyotes (0-4) in the final moments to notch its second straight win over its I-29 rivals.

It was a battle of Summit League Preseason All-First Team selections, with UND’s Filip Rebraca and USD’s Stanley Umude each leading the way for their respective teams. Rebraca set a new career-high with 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting and adding six rebounds plus a steal while Umude led everyone with 30 points on five triples and five boards.

Tyree Ihenacho continued to impress in his third game as a Fighting Hawk, scoring a new career-high 12 points while grabbing a game-high nine rebounds and dishing out three assists.

Mitchell Sueker reached double figures once again with 10 points, cementing the mark with a pair of free throws in the final seconds to seal the victory for UND on a 7-for-9 day from the stripe, and adding six boards. Caleb Nero reached double digits for the third time in his UND career with 10 points and an assist.

Despite surrendering eight triples, the UND defense held the Coyotes to just .452 from the field and .538 at the charity stripe while connecting at a .481 clip from the field and hitting 18-of-25 free throws (.720).

Both teams couldn’t find much on a rhythm on the offensive side of the ball in the early going, but North Dakota started to get some shots to fall to cut into a deficit. After trailing by as many as five in the opening moments, Nero and Rebraca combined for the next seven points to cut the lead down to a single point, 12-11, with just over 12 minutes to play in the half.

UND was able to keep the offense flowing despite starting 0-for-5 from distance, shooting a .500 clip on shots from inside the arc to prevent the USD lead from growing before Rebraca hit the team’s first triple to bring the deficit down to two, 22-20, with six minutes remaining in the opening stanza.

The Coyotes build a seven-point advantage before the threes started to fall in bunches for the Hawks. After Rebraca’s initial make, Ihenacho and Ethan Igbanugo followed with a triple of their own before a Seybian Sims bucket off an inbound pass to give UND a 30-27 lead with two minutes to play in the half. The run kept growing for the Hawks as the half wore down, with Brady Danielson knocking down a three of his own to send the green and white to the locker room with a 35-29 lead after 20 minutes.

The halftime break didn’t seem to slow the groove of UND, with the Hawks striking for the first four points of the frame to build the first double-digit advantage of the contest, 39-29, less than three minutes into the period.

South Dakota battled back with an 8-1 spurt of its own, cutting the lead down to just three, 42-39, but Igbanugo and Sims kept the Hawks in front at the under-12 media timeout.

The pace picked up over the next few minutes, with both sides starting to hit shots at a regularity. UND extended the lead out of the media stoppage back to six, but the Coyotes responded right back with a 5-1 run to trim it right back down to a one-shot game, 53-51, with just over eight minutes remaining.

After South Dakota took its first lead since the opening half on a three, Sims answered right back with a triple of his own to put the Hawks up, 62-60, with just under five minutes on the clock.

It was the battle of the Summit League Preseason All-First Team selections down the stretch, with Umude and Rebraca matching each other shot-for-shot over the final minutes. After the Serbian had scored six straight for the Hawks, Sueker tied the game at 70 with a pair of makes from the charity stripe with 1:14 remaining.

Looking to take the lead in the final minute, Sims battled for a pair of offensive rebounds and earned a foul call on the second. The junior hit 1-of-2 to put the Hawks in front by one, 71-70, with 27.3 to go. On the ensuing possession, Umude’s shot would not fall before Rebraca followed with a huge rebound and sank two free throws to extend the lead to three, 73-70, with 5.1 remaining.

Sueker secured a defensive rebound following an intentionally missed free throw by the Coyotes before salting the game away at the line.

North Dakota returns right back to action tomorrow afternoon with a showdown against South Dakota State at 5:30 p.m. from the Sanford Pentagon.

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