LINCOLN, Neb. -- UND joined the ranks of Division I men’s basketball in 2008. The Fighting Hawks have had their share of success, winning the Big Sky Conference title and advancing to the NCAA Tournament in 2017.
Along their Division I journey, the Hawks have played a number of teams from Power 5 conferences. In most of those meetings, Power 5 schools took convincing wins.
UND was still looking for a win against a Power 5 team Saturday when the Hawks met Big Ten member Nebraska at Pinnacle Arena in Lincoln.
That search for that elusive win is over after UND stunned Nebraska 75-74 as the Hawks survived a late surge from the Cornhuskers.
De’Sean Allen-Eikens hit a free throw with 7 seconds to play to give the Hawks a 75-74 lead. Nebraska had a final shot for the win, but Dachon Burke's jumper with two seconds left was off the mark. UND’s Filip Rebraca grabbed the rebound and the Hawks took the win to improve to 6-7 on the season. Nebraska, under first-year head coach Fred Hoiberg, dropped to 5-7.
UND placed four players in double figures, led by Marlon Stewart’s 23 points. Rebraca and Allen-Eikens each added 15 points while Kienan Walter added 14. Cam Mack, who had a couple of late 3-pointers to keep the Huskers close down the stretch, led Nebraska with 19 points.
UND shot 48 percent from the field and 11 of 31 on 3-point attempts (36 percent).
UND led for 33 minutes, 46 seconds and its largest lead was 61-53 with 8:17 to play. Nebraska led by no more than four points, that coming early in the game.
UND also scored 30 points in the paint and scored 11 more on offensive rebounds. UND committed 13 turnovers, a lower number than in past games.
“We weren’t going to be able to run with them. So we really wanted to keep it at our pace. I thought for a lot of the game that worked to our advantage,” North Dakota coach Paul Sather told the Omaha World Herald. “It’s a cool thing for them because it hasn’t been an easy season. We’ve traveled a ton, been a lot of places, played some really good teams, and it would be easy for these guys to get down on themselves. They showed a lot of belief tonight.”
UND will close out its nonconference schedule with a game at Oregon State next Sunday.