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Wayne Nelson / Forum News Service, Published March 15 2014

North Dakota falls in Big Sky Conference title game

OGDEN, Utah – The Big Dance will have to wait for the University of North Dakota.

The wait for the Big Dance is over for Big Sky Conference heavyweight Weber State after a six-year drought.

Weber State, behind a blistering start, downed UND 88-67 on Saturday night in the championship game of the Big Sky men’s basketball tournament before 6,294 fans at the Dee Activities Center.

Weber punched its ticket to the NCAA tournament with the win, while UND – only in its second season of Division I postseason eligibility – now awaits word whether it will receive a postseason bid to the CollegeInsider.com tournament.

Weber had it all against UND, as the Wildcats used their decided height advantage, athleticism and the all-around play of tournament MVP Davion Berry to gain control early.

“Our team really battled, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that our lack of size was our trouble throughout the night,” said UND coach Brian Jones. “They came out and shot the ball well early and got separation.

“Against these guys, you have to pick your poison. They’re good inside and good outside. Because we were undersized, we tried to take away the inside and double down. But they made the shots.”

Weber scored on its first seven possessions as the Wildcats bolted to an 18-6 lead. A Berry 3-pointer and two free throws, along with another triple from Kyndahl Hill, left UND down

18-6 and in early trouble.

UND did regroup and trailed 41-34 on a Chad Calcaterra free throw with nine seconds to go in the first half. But Berry took control again, dribbling down the floor and hitting a 3-pointer at the buzzer for a 10-point halftime lead.

He hit the shot in front of former Weber State star Damian Lillard, now an NBA All-Star. The two high-fived after the shot as the Wildcats headed into the locker room with more than enough momentum.

NORTH DAKOTA (67): Aa.Anderson 3-10 2-2 8, T.Huff 6-14 4-4 17, J.Nash 4-14 2-6 10, A.Traylor 6-8 3-5 15, Hooker 1-5 4-4 6, Stefan 2-5 0-0 4, C.Calcaterra 1-3 1-2 3, Antwi 0-1 2-2 2, J.Webb 0-0 0-0 0, Salmonson 0-0 0-0 0, S.Benton 0-0 0-0 0, Hobaugh 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 24-61 18-25 67.

WEBER ST. (88): D.Berry 6-11 4-4 19, Senglin 3-7 4-4 12, Tresnak 11-15 5-5 27, Jr.Richardson 2-5 0-0 6, Bolomboy 3-4 3-6 9, R.Gittens 2-5 0-0 5, Ky.Hill 2-4 2-2 7, Hajek 0-0 0-0 0, B.Fulton 1-1 0-0 3, Ry.Williams 0-0 0-0 0, J.Fuller 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 30-53 18-21 88.

North Dakota 34 33 — 67

Weber St. 44 44 — 88

3-Point Goals: North Dakota 1-12 (T.Huff 1-2, Aa.Anderson 0-1, Antwi 0-1, Stefan 0-2, Hooker 0-3, J.Nash 0-3), Weber St. 10-22 (D.Berry 3-7, Jr.Richardson 2-5, Senglin 2-5, B.Fulton 1-1, R.Gittens 1-1, Ky.Hill 1-2, J.Fuller 0-1). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: North Dakota 34 (J.Nash 9), Weber St. 33 (Bolomboy 11). Assists: North Dakota 7 (Aa.Anderson 3), Weber St. 17 (D.Berry, R.Gittens 4). Total Fouls: North Dakota 15 (C.Calcaterra, J.Nash, Stefan 3), Weber St. 17 (Bolomboy 4). A—6,294.


Wayne Nelson is the sports editor for the Grand Forks Herald