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UND upends Sacramento State 90-73 to take Big Sky men's basketball win

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—It took a while but UND finally notched a road win in the Big Sky Conference this season.

Conner Avants scored a career-high 26 points as the Fighting Hawks downed Sacramento State 90-73 on Thursday night. Avants was one of five UND players in double figures. Geno Crandall followed with 19 points, while Cortez Seales added 15. Reserves Billy Brown and Kienan Walter each finished with 12.

UND improved to 6-11 in the Big Sky and 11-18 overall while Sacramento State dropped to 3-14 and 6-24.

UND closes the regular season Saturday at Portland State before heading to Reno, Nev., for next week's Big Sky tournament.

UND will be either the No. 8 or No. 9 seed in the tournament, which opens Tuesday.

UND broke it open with a 12-0 run late in the first half and withstood a hot start by the Hornets after the break.

"We did a tremendous job of sharing and moving the ball and Conner was the beneficiary of that all night," said UND coach Brian Jones. "Defensively, I thought we played at a high level at times and we did a great job of rebounding, which we knew would be a key for us."

Crandall scored 17 of his 19 points after the break and had a career-high six steals to go with seven assists.

The Hornets opened the second half hot from the floor making 8-of-10 to start, but could only trim their 11-point halftime deficit down to seven before Crandall and Dale Jones hit back-to-back triples to stretch UND's lead back to double figures.

The Fighting Hawks started 8-for-11 from the field and Avants had five of those field goals in the opening 10 minutes

Avants finished with 16 first-half points, while Seales added 11, including a jumper that fell through right before the halftime buzzer. UND's bench also provided 11 first-half points as Walter buried a pair of 3-pointers and Brown added five points.

UND 90, Sac State 73

UND 42 48 --90

SAC 31 42 --73

UND—Dale Jones 1-5 3-4 6, Conner Avants 12-16 2-2 26, Geno Crandall 5-8 5-8 19, Marlon Stewart 0-4 0-0 0, Cortez Seales 4-7 7-8 15, Billy Brown 4-9 1-2 12, Kienan Walter 4-5 0-0 12. Totals 30-54 18-24 89

Sacramento State—Justin Strings 7-16 6-6 21, Bryce Fowler 4-8 0-0 8, Joshua Patton 9-9 6-8 24, Izayah M.Le'afa 1-3 0-0 3, Kevin Hicks 1-5 0-0 3, Chibueze Jacobs 1-1 0-0 3, Jordan Tolbert 4-9 1-2 9, Jamion Wright 0-2 0-0 0, Calvin Martin 0-1 2-2 2, James Herrick 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-54 15-18 73

3-pointers—UND 12-23 (Jones 1-4, Crandall 4-6, Stewart 0-1, Brown 3-7, Walter 4-4), Sac State 4-15 (Strings 1-2, Fowler 0-2, M.Le'afa 1-1, Hicks 1-4, Tolbert 0-3, Wright 0-2); Rebounds—UND 30 (Seales 7, Avants 7), Sac State 27 (Patton 9); Assists—UND 17 (Crandall 7), Sac State 15 (Strings 6, Fowler 6)

Wayne Nelson
Nelson is the sports editor of the Herald
(701) 780-1268
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