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UND overcomes slow start in 79-48 win over Northland

UND's Marlon Stewart drives to the basket to score against Northland College Tuesday at the Betty Engelstad Arena. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald1 / 2
UND's Geno Crandal defends against Northland College's Harrison Lucas in the first half Tuesday at the Betty Engelstad Arena. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald2 / 2

UND started its season with three games in Hawaii. Then, the Fighting Hawks played Big Ten member Nebraska two days ago before more than 10,000 fans.

UND's home opener came Tuesday night against Northland College of Ashland, Wis., a Division III program.

The game didn't have the buzz of a trip to Hawaii or a shot against a Big Ten team. That may have had something to do with UND's sluggish start. When reality sunk in, however, UND responded and cruised to a 79-48 win before 1,570 fans at The Betty.

"Right now, "I'm a little frustrated because I expect great things from this team," said UND coach Brian Jones. "I know where this team can go so I'm probably a little bit harder on them at times."

Northland controlled play early and held a 16-11 lead nine minutes into the game. But the Fighting Hawks responded, led by Marlon Stewart and Cortez Seales.

Northland's last lead was at 20-19 following a jumper by Ben Arqueros. Stewart then led an 11-0 UND run by scoring nine of the points—seven from the line. A dunk by Dale Jones rounded out the run and helped UND to a 36-25 halftime lead.

Seales led UND with 20 points while Stewart and Conner Avants both finished with 11.

UND's shooting, however, wasn't sharp as the Hawks went 3-for-19 on 3-point attempts (16 percent).

"We let fatigue and confidence get to us once we missed a couple of early shots," said Seales, who was 9-for-12 from the field. "That affected us on the defensive end."

UND's whirlwind first two weeks may have shown against the Lumber Jacks, but it's something the Hawks have to overcome, added Seales.

"It was a quick turnaround from Nebraska and we were in Hawaii before that; we have to come more prepared," said Seales. "Northland came out and fought hard. We have to respect every opponent."

UND improved to 3-2 and now faces a much more difficult opponent Saturday—Utah Valley.

The Wolverines and UND were members of the now-defunct Great West Conference. Utah Valley took on Kentucky and Duke on back-to-back nights and the Wolverines had the Wildcats on the ropes for a while.

"Tonight was a great learning tool for us," said the UND coach. "We have to respect the process."

Wayne Nelson
Nelson is the sports editor of the Herald
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