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MEN'S BASKETBALL: UND falters in regular-season, falls to Southern Utah 77-71

CEDAR CITY, Utah — UND’s late-season momentum took a jolt Thursday night at Southern Utah, which had not won a Division I game this season.

But that changed when Southern Utah beat UND 77-71 in the Big Sky Conference regular-season finale for UND.

The loss ended UND’s season at 12-8 in the league and 15-15 overall.

UND had won four in a row before its trip to SUU. The Thunderbirds, which lost by three points in Grand Forks back in January, improved to 1-18 and 2-26.

UND will now wait until next Thursday when it will play in the Big Sky Conference postseason tournament in Ogden, Utah.

North Dakota will enter as the No. 3 seed. Weber State is the top seed.

SUU held off a late UND charge. Jamal Webb had 14 of his team-high 18 points in the second half and led the charge as UND trimmed what was a 16-point deficit all the way down to two with less than a minute to play.

“We just got outplayed tonight,” UND coach Brian Jones said. “From the start to the finish, Southern Utah was the tougher team and deserved to win. We got it going there late, but had dug too deep of a hole to complete the comeback.”

It was a tight first half that featured five ties and five lead changes, but it was a late surge by the Thunderbirds that put them ahead 32-28. 

UND held a 21-17 lead after a layup by Troy Huff, which put him into third place on UND’s all-time scoring charts. Huff finished with nine points, while Aaron Anderson added 14 and Jaron Nash added 12.

SUU would go on an 8-0 run after falling behind by four over the next three minutes to regain the lead for good. Poor shooting from the field was the main culprit for UND’s deficit in the opening 20 minutes as North Dakota went 10-for-30 and just 1-for-11 from beyond the arc.

UND closed to within 73-71 on a layup by Webb with 21 seconds to play, but Race Parsons made a layup and two free throws to seal SUU’s first victory since its season opener vs. Arizona Christian.