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Tom Miller / Forum Communications Co., Published March 14 2012

Sioux men turn the ball over 16 times in a loss to Drake

DES MOINES, Iowa – In the big picture, the North Dakota men’s basketball team has completed the difficult NCAA Division I transition and expects to return four sophomore starters from a program that qualified for postseason play two years in a row.

In the short term, Wednesday night’s late-game shortcomings in a winnable game against Drake of the Missouri Valley Conference stung.

The Sioux turned the ball over 16 times, including a crucial turnover trailing by two points with 24 seconds left, and struggled from the free-throw line in falling 70-64 to the Bulldogs in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament in front of 1,829 at Knapp Center.

The Sioux close out the year 17-15 overall.

“I’m proud of where we’ve been,” UND coach Brian Jones said of the transition. “Not many teams have had this kind of success through the transition. The guys stayed the process. We won eight games two years ago.”

With 24 seconds to go, UND guard Aaron Anderson drove to the baseline and couldn’t complete a pass into teammate Brandon Brekke. Anderson turned the ball over.

Drake’s Ben Simons then went 4-for-4 at the foul line to ice it.

NORTH DAKOTA (17-15): Huff 5-12 4-8 15, Mitchell 5-12 0-0 13, Brekke 8-11 2-3 18, Anderson 3-6 2-2 9, Webb 2-8 0-0 4, Antwi 0-1 0-2 0, Allard 2-4 1-2 5, Wilmer 0-1 0-0 0, Schuler 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 25-58 9-17 64.

DRAKE (18-15): Clarke 1-5 4-6 6, Jeffers 3-8 2-2 9, Simons 7-14 6-7 24, Alexander 3-8 3-4 9, Rice 6-12 6-8 19, Hawley 1-4 0-0 3, Welfringer 0-0 0-0 0, Parker 0-2 0-0 0, Smith 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 21-55 21-27 70.

Halftime– North Dakota 26-24. 3-Point Goals– North Dakota 5-19 (Mitchell 3-8, Anderson 1-3, Huff 1-4, Webb 0-2, Schuler 0-2), Drake 7-16 (Simons 4-7, Rice 1-2, Jeffers 1-2, Hawley 1-3, Alexander 0-1, Parker 0-1). Fouled Out– Rice. Rebounds– North Dakota 39 (Brekke 15), Drake 31 (Clarke 14). Assists– North Dakota 11 (Webb 6), Drake 7 (Alexander, Rice 2). Total Fouls– North Dakota 18, Drake 15. Technical– Drake Bench. A– 1,829.


Miller writes for the Grand Forks Herald which is owned by Forum Communications Co.