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MEN'S BASKETBALL: UND downs Eastern Washington, 78-74, reaches Big Sky tournament

CHENEY, Wash. - With its goal in sight, UND wanted no help. Instead, North Dakota earned its way into the upcoming Big Sky Conference men's basketball tournament with another road win.

CHENEY, Wash. - With its goal in sight, UND wanted no help. Instead, North Dakota earned its way into the upcoming Big Sky Conference men's basketball tournament with another road win.

Troy Huff scored a career-high 34 points as UND downed Eastern Washington 78-74 on Saturday to pick up its first Big Sky road sweep of the season. It was UND's sixth Big Sky road win of the season.

The win also qualified UND for the seven-team Big Sky postseason tournament March 14-16. The top seven teams advance to the tournament and UND is alone in third place at 11-8 and 14-15 overall.

UND basically locked up a tournament spot Thursday in its win at Portland State. UND, however, didn't need help from any other league team Saturday.

The road win was the third straight in the Big Sky play for UND, which never trailed despite a late Eastern Washington rally.


Aaron Anderson added 18 points for UND, with 16 comin gin the second half.

"Troy obviously had a big day and got us off to a great start, but this was another game where we got contributions from everyone," said UND coach Brian Jones, who picked up the 100th win of his career, said. "And, I'm so proud of this bunch because they continue to find ways to win.

"Now, we have clinched a berth in the postseason tournament and will finish with a winning record in our first year of Big Sky play. That is a huge accomplishment."

Huff and Anderson did a majority of the scoring for UND. North Dakota, however, received a big play from Jamal Webb with over a minute to play. Webb, the league's leader in steals, stripped Eastern Washington's Colin Chiverton in the open court and made a driving layup to put UND up by three (73-70).

EWU would turn the ball over on the next possession and Webb would find Huff for a breakaway dunk. The set up was the 10th assist for Webb, a career best. He also finished with a season-high nine rebounds.

Huff's sizzling start produced the first 15 points of the game for UND, which jumped out to a 15-8 advantage. He had 20 points in the opening seven minutes as the Green and White quickly built a 24-10 advantage.

Huff knocked down four 3-pointers in the opening half and finished with 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the floor, but the Eagles started chipping away late in the half to cut UND's lead to 38-31 at halftime.

Anderson's scoring in the second half helped UND keep the lead. North Dakota's lead hovered around the five-point mark for much of the second half.


With his team trailing 71-65, Eastern Washington's Thomas Reuter converted a 3-point play and added a layup to cut the Eagles' deficit down to just a point. After a turnover by Anderson gave EWU its first chance to take the lead outright since the opening minutes of play, Webb came through with the defensive play of the game for UND, who had 10 steals and eight blocks.

EWU freshman Tyler Harvey, who finished with 21 points off the Eagles' bench, put his team within a point again on the ensuing possession, but Anderson answered with an acrobatic shot in the lane to put UND back up by three.

EWU would miss a 3-point attempt to tie from the corner. Webb grabbed the rebound and found Huff open behind the Eagles' defense and his two-handed dunk sealed the win.

UND closes out the regular season at home Saturday against Southern Utah. A win will give UND the third seed heading into the league's tournament, scheduled for either Ogden, Utah, or Missoula, Mont.

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