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Wayne Nelson / Forum News Service, Published January 25 2014

UND cruises to win over Northern Arizona

GRAND FORKS – The University of North Dakota’s next four Big Sky Conference games are on the road, where league titles – most of the time – are won or lost.

That placed a little more emphasis on UND’s home game against Northern Arizona. And UND placed a little more emphasis on its play – from start to finish – as North Dakota downed Northern Arizona 84-68 before 1,840 fans at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

“We all know that in this league, this year, it’s not easy on the road,” said UND coach Brian Jones. “We needed to get this one today because of the four coming up on the road.”

UND improved to 5-3 in the Big Sky and 8-10 overall. Northern Arizona, meanwhile, dropped to 5-3 and

8-11.

UND was solid in all phases: North Dakota shot 50 percent, finished with 18 assists on 30 field goals, committed only seven turnovers, and dropped in a season-high 13 three-pointers on 23 attempts.

“We were sharing the ball,” said Jones. “We were passing up good shots for great shots. That’s why our percentage was so high.”

North Dakota has won its last three games. In all three, UND has had good scoring balance, inside and outside, and from its starters and reserves.

Jamal Webb came off the bench to lead UND with 15 points, all coming in the second half. Cole Stefan, another reserve, finished with 13 as did Aaron Anderson. Jaron Nash, again off the bench, ended with 12 and UND received a second-straight strong inside performance as center Ryan Salmonson ended with 10.

“When everyone gets involved in the offense, you get energy,” said Webb. “And that transferred to our defense, too.”

UND led for much of the game and held a 43-36 advantage at the break. But Northern Arizona, led by Max Jacobsen’s 19 points, cut the deficit to one (45-44) two minutes into the second half.

NAU (8-11, 5-3 Big Sky): Jacobsen 8-10 3-4 19, Upshur 4-8 3-3 13, Dixon 3-10 3-4 10, Yanku 2-8 5-6 9, Bewernick 3-4 0-0 6, Springs 2-3 0-0 6, Martin 2-2 1-2 5. Totals: 24-47 17-23 68.

UND (8-10, 5-3): Webb 6-9 0-0 15, Anderson 4-10 2-2 13, Stefan 4-7 2-2 13, Nash 5-7 0-0 12, Salmonson 4-8 2-5 10, Huff 3-9 2-3 8, Traylor 2-3 1-2 5, Hooker 1-3 2-2 5, Schuler 1-4 0-0 3. Totals: 30-60 11-16 84.

Half: UND 43, NAU 36. 3-point goals: NAU 3-10 (Upshur 2-5, Dixon 1-5), UND 13-23 (Webb 3-3, Anderson 3-5, Stefan 3-5, Nash 2-3, Hooker 1-2, Schuler 1-3, Huff 0-2). Total fouls: NAU 15, UND 17. Rebounds: NAU 30 (Bewernick 10), UND 27 (Webb 5). Assists: NAU 10 (Yanku 4), UND 18 (Stefan 5). Steals: NAU 3 (Upshur 2), UND 7 (Webb 4). Turnovers: NAU 16, UND 7. A: 1840.

Nelson is the sports editor of the Grand Forks Herald