UND men's basketball team has a slim margin of error entering its final four games

Hawks finish the regular season with four home games

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UND's Brady Danielson drives the baseline as Denver's Michael Henn defends during a game earlier this season at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS – UND trails Omaha by one game for the eighth – and final – berth for the upcoming Summit League men’s basketball tournament.

Looking at the remaining schedules for both UND and Omaha, however, is pointless from the Hawks’ perspective.

For UND, there is no margin of error. UND has four games remaining – all at home. Realistically, the Hawks will need to win at least two or perhaps all four to reach the Summit tournament.

In essence, UND is in its postseason as one loss could end its season. UND (2-12 Summit, 6-21 overall) hosts Kansas City (9-15,16-10) on Thursday and Oral Roberts (11-3, 17-8) on Saturday.

“The mindset right now is to win every game and take one game at a time,” said UND’s Brady Danielson. “We just have to win every single one.”


Record aside, UND has been playing some solid basketball in its past four games – a stretch that started when the Hawks pushed league-leader South Dakota State to the limit two weeks ago. UND has split its past four games – the two losses coming by a combined four points as one went to overtime.

“In the last five or six games, we’ve been playing the best we have all year,” said Danielson. “We just haven’t been able to finish off a few of them.

“Everyone kind of knows his role at this point. And we know what coach wants us to do on offense and we’ve bought into his defensive style.”

Danielson has been a constant all season for the Hawks. He plays the power forward spot and at 6-foot-3, he’s giving up size to most of UND’s opponents. He’s averaging 6.2 points in Summit games and 5.8 rebounds, which ranks third on the team.

But one statistic, perhaps more than any other, best explains his importance to the team. He’s taken 14 offensive charges from opponents this season – by far the most on the team.

“A lot of it is anticipation,” said Danielson. “When they’re driving on you, you have to anticipate which way you think they’re going to go and just stay in front of them. Just take it to the chest. It can be hard sometimes.”

UND’s final four games won’t be easy. Kansas City has won four of its past five while Oral Roberts has done the same. ORU also returns prolific scorer Max Abmas, who is the league’s leading scorer (22.8 ppg). And Abmas led ORU to the Sweet 16 in last season’s NCAA Tournament.

“We’re putting ourselves in position to win games,” said UND coach Paul Sather. “We have to be more consistent down the stretch. The last five minutes can be a pretty important five minutes of the game.”


Related Topics: UND BASKETBALL
Wayne Nelson is the sports editor at the Herald.

He has been with the Grand Forks Herald since 1995, serving as the UND football and basketball beat writer as well as serving as the sports editor.

He is a UND graduate and has been writing sports since the late 1970s.

Follow him on Twitter @waynenelsongf. You can reach him at (701) 780-1268 or
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