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Kevin Schnepf, Published February 10 2008

IUPUI looking forward to hosting Oral Roberts

Ron Hunter said his team’s first trip to the Dakotas was the biggest weekend of the season.

“To have a chance to win the league title, we knew we had to take care of business on this trip,” said Hunter, whose Indiana-Purdue Indianapolis men’s basketball team is heading back home today only two games out of first place in the Summit League.

After winning at South Dakota State on Thursday night 70-56, the Jaguars escaped the Bison Sports Arena with a

69-67 win over North Dakota State. That will most likely set up next Saturday’s showdown with Oral Roberts – still unbeaten in the league.

“That would be worth the price of admission,” NDSU head coach Saul Phillips said, referring to the game to be played in Indianapolis.

“We are very excited to have them come into our place,” Hunter said.

So is junior guard George Hill, who poured in 33 points against the Bison Saturday night. But Hill, already being scouted by NBA scouts, tempered that by saying his team has to beat Centenary at home on Thursday before worrying about Oral Roberts.

If the Jaguars do, a win over Oral Roberts would pull them within one game of first place. And the way Hunter figures it, Oral Roberts could come up to Fargo on the last game of the regular season of the game and get beat.

“We felt very fortunate tonight,” Hunter said, after his team produced a 14-0 run in the final five minutes to win in the Bison Sports Arena. “Not many teams are going to come in here and win.”

And not many teams go into IUPUI’s high-school-looking gym known as “The Jungle” and win. IUPUI is 12-0 at home this season, including an 89-77 win over nationally ranked Massachusetts.

“All I know is we are 34-3 at home ever since George Hill has been playing with us,” Hunter said. “I feel pretty good about this one going home.”

Coaching update

- Ever since his Colorado State team was handed an 83-69 loss at NDSU on Dec. 15, Tim Miles’ Colorado State Rams have lost 12 of their past 13 games. Miles, who left NDSU last spring after compiling a 99-71 record from 2001-07, has a 6-17 overall record and an 0-9 Mountain West Conference record after losing at Nevada-Las Vegas on Saturday 68-51.

- Tom Billeter, who had a 97-50 record from 1992-97 at NDSU, is 17-6 overall and 5-3 in the North Central Conference after his Augustana Vikings of Sioux Falls, S.D., won at home Saturday night over Minnesota-Duluth 62-46.

- Ben Jacobson, who was an assistant at NDSU for the 2000-01 season, is 14-10 overall and

6-7 in the Missouri Valley Conference after his Northern Iowa Panthers lost at Missouri State on Saturday 71-54.

- Greg McDermott, who was 15-11 at NDSU for the 2000-01 season, is 13-11 overall and 3-6 in the Big 12 Conference after his Iowa State Cyclones lost in overtime at home to No. 12 Texas 71-65.

- Ray Giacoletti, who was 48-33 from 1997-2000 at NDSU, is 18-6 overall and 7-1 in the West Coast Conference as an assistant at Gonzaga, which won big at home Saturday,

101-59 over Pepperdine.

Winkelman honored

NDSU’s Brett Winkelman, who normally misses the bulk of Tuesday practices because of his engineering classes, was named to the ESPN The Magazine All-District 7 University Division men’s basketball team selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Winkelman, a 6-foot-6 junior from Morris, Minn., has a 3.84 cumulative grade-point average in industrial engineering and management with a minor in business administration. He advances to the national ballot for the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America team to be announced Feb. 27.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549 or kschnepf@forumcomm.com

Schnepf’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com