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UND has an older, experienced basketball men’s basketball team. Still, it was almost an eye-opening experience for the North Dakota players when they made their first appearance at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday night to meet Butler.
Five high school seniors have signed letters of intent to play baseball for UND. The five are: Brett Harrison, Winnipeg; Zach Heaser, Eyota, Minn.; Miles Lewis, Hudson, Wis.; Cameron Powell, Bourbonnais, Ill; and Connor Trygstad, Plymouth, Minn.
UND made a trip to historic Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday night and for the first 16 minutes of the game, UND had a surprising shot at making history. But Butler University — now a member of the big-time Big East — used a four-minute power surge late in the first half to defeat North Dakota 79-64 before 6,355 fans at Hinkle — the sixth-oldest venue in college basketball.
UND men’s basketball coach Brian Jones has been in Hinkle Fieldhouse a number times during his time at Iowa. Hinkle is the home to Butler and it’s also where the movie Hoosiers was filmed. It’s a special place, he said. The fans are knowledgeable and passionate.
UND’s mission this week is to break a three-game losing streak. If that happens, UND will have to snap the streak against one of the country’s top programs and in one of the more historic venues in all of college basketball.
Pacific coach Ron Verlin prefers to play man-to-man defense.
The style is a proven winner for the Tigers as they advanced to the NCAA tournament last season and are 6-1 this year with the only setback coming against No. 14 Oregon — a game Pacific led by seven at halftime.
Oregon, unbeaten and ranked No. 14 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, had the size and speed to outlast UND 91-76 on Saturday evening in front of 5,937 fans at the state-of-the-art Matthew Knight Arena.
For the time being, the new way of officiating college basketball doesn’t make for the prettiest of sport. The whistle frenzy creates a choppy atmosphere that can zap life from the rowdiest of crowds — like the one assembled in a sold-out Betty Engelstad Sioux Center for UND’s matchup with rival North Dakota State on Sunday.
In previous seasons, the home for UND’s big games has been spacious and palatial Ralph Engelstad Arena — the 12,000-seat home of North Dakota hockey. Today, UND will play perhaps its most important home men’s basketball game of its Division I era against North Dakota State.
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