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Missed free throws have cost UND a win or two during its difficult transition to Division I basketball. In UND's biggest home game since making the move to Division I, the Green and White hit their free throws down the stretch. As a result, a rarity took place at Ralph Engelstad Arena on Tuesday night as fans rushed the court after UND rallied to beat rival North Dakota State 59-54 before 7,169 fans. "It's our biggest win since we made the move to Division I," UND coach Brian Jones said.
Reported remarks made by UND women's basketball coach Gene Roebuck at a UND Booster lunch last week have resulted in an apology to North Dakota State President Dean Bresciani. At the booster lunch held Friday at the Alerus Center, Roebuck allegedly called North Dakota State fans "racist blowhards." That remark allegedly was in response to North Dakota State fans chanting "Sioux suck" during a welcome-home celebration for the Bison football team after it won the NCAA Division I FCS championship against Sam Houston State on Jan.
UND is scheduled to join the Big Sky Conference next season, a welcomed move that gives the program stability after a difficult Division I transition -- one that that included major scheduling hassles. The Big Sky season will give UND 20 games, leaving eight or nine nonconference dates. And UND coach Brian Jones would like nothing better than to fill those dates with the likes of North Dakota State, South Dakota and South Dakota State. "The nonconference games that we do play should all be against Dakota schools," Jones said. "That needs to happen from a fan standpoint.
If a driver wants to make it on the national stage, the place to do that is at the Knoxville Nationals -- the Super Bowl of sprint racing Mark Dobmeier -- the driver to beat weekly at River Cities Speedway -- made it to the national stage at the 2011 Knoxville Nationals. The Grand Forks driver captured one of the two preliminary features at the Nationals, earning him a spot in the event's 50-lap feature -- one that pays $150,000 to win. Dobmeier's preliminary win came against the country's best. And driver of the familiar blue-and-white No.
Five nights ago, UND quietly boarded its bus back to Grand Forks after a humbling 38-point loss at South Dakota State. When UND returned to practice this week, the players weren't allowed to forget what happened. "We had that score (92-54) on the scoreboard at practice for three days and it was in our locker room," UND coach Brian Jones said. "It was everywhere. But we didn't stress winning. We stressed playing better." UND played better, much better. As a result, that score can now be forgotten.
UND treated its game against Montana on Wednesday night as a measuring stick to see how far the program has to go to be competitive when the Sioux move to the Big Sky Conference next season. The Sioux discovered the gap from a transitioning Division I program to a competitor in the Big Sky isn't that wide.
Throughout the season, UND was not known for its ability to score quickly. The Sioux offense, if flavored, would taste vanilla. But when it counted the most, UND's offense delivered more flavors than Baskin-Robbins. The turning point in UND's 38-37 win Saturday at the Alerus Center was a quick Sioux scoring drive in the fourth quarter, one that covered 75 yards in less than two minutes. It was capped by Brent Goska's 3-yard touchdown pass to Tyhre Ivery -- a play that cut South Dakota's lead to 38-31. "When we started to speed things up, we got better," UND coach Chris Mussman said.
On the last play of his career, UND quarterback Brent Goska didn't mind taking a 10-yard loss. In fact, he didn't want to end his career any other way. In addition, "I got the best turf burn ever," Goska said. As a result, his best burn ever resulted in one of UND's best wins ever -- an improbable, electric and perhaps a program-changing 38-37 win against rival South Dakota on Saturday before 7,400 fans at the Alerus Center. The game-winning touchdown came with 4 minutes 7 seconds remaining when Goska hit Chris Anderson on a 15-yard scoring pass.
Brent Goska took over at quarterback during the second quarter of UND's game against Cal Poly in Week 7. He nearly rallied the Sioux to a win, but Cal Poly left the Alerus Center with a 23-19 win. The senior has been the starter since, and has guided the Sioux to wins in all three of his starts.
It's been a topsy-turvy world for both UND and South Dakota during their transition to Division I football. Scheduling difficulties, a lack of postseason opportunities and recruiting challenges have highlighted the five years the Sioux and Coyotes have spent winding their way through the Football Championship Subdivision transition. But the schools have been there for each other the entire way as both made the Division I leap at the same time. South Dakota will play UND on Saturday perhaps for the last time.