Dixie State wins first game in Division I with 74-73 victory over UND
ST. GEORGE, Utah -- The UND men's basketball team's starting lineup Wednesday night featured four players in their first year with the program.
During stretches against Dixie State, that newness and inexperience was evident.
Dixie State, in its first season with the Western Athletic Conference, used a strong second half to beat UND 74-73 in the program's first game as a Division I member.
"It sucks to lose and nobody likes to lose, and we made some mistakes, but our energy was really good," UND coach Paul Sather said. "In the second half, they came out with a little more poise than us. We're learning. This is going to be a situation where the learning curve is what it is. I won't sit here and hang my head and wallow. I think we can play better but Dixie State played hard and were better offensively."
UND, which dropped to 0-2, led by as many as nine early in the second half and trailed by as many as 12 with two minutes left. A frantic rally in the final moments closed the gap.
UND's Caleb Nero, a transfer from Weber State, hit a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left for the final margin.
Playing without sophomore standout De'Sean Allen-Eikens, who was out with an injury, UND started Tyree Ihenacho at guard in Ihenacho's collegiate debut.
Mitchell Sueker, a graduate transfer from South Dakota School of Mines, finished with a team-high 19 points, while Filip Rebraca had 15.
Junior college transfer Seybian Sims added 11 points (3-for-4 shooting from the 3-point line), while Nero and Ihenacho each had nine.
"I think those guys will improve and get better," Sather said of his newcomers. "I believe that because of the type of people they are. They won't walk out of here looking for excuses. I'd like (the learning curve) to go faster, and I need to do a better job preparing, but sometimes you've got to go through it."
UND led 29-24 at halftime.
The Hawks only received 10 bench points and were 14-for-25 from the free-throw line.
Dixie State, led by Frank Staine's 19 points, won despite shooting just 1-for-10 from the 3-point line.
UND will play at Minnesota on Friday night at 8 p.m. Sather said he hopes to have Allen-Eikens back soon, but he didn't know if that would be Friday or next week.
Dixie State 74, UND 73
Halftime: UND 29, Dixie State 24
UND -- Caleb Nero 4-9 0- 9, Seybian Sims 4-6 0-1 11, Tyree Ihenacho 1-5 7-20 9, Filip Rebraca 6-8 3-6 15, Mitchell Sueker 8-14 1-3 19, Nate Shockey 0-3 0-0 0, Brady Danielson 1-4 0-1 2, Ethan Igbanugo 1-2 1-2 4, Gertautas Urbonavicius 1-3 2-2 4.
Dixie State -- Cameron Gooden 2-9 5-8 9, Dason Youngblood 4-7 0-0 8, Frank Staine 6-12 6-9 19, Jacob Nicolds 5-8 7-9 17, Jarod Greene 3-3 1-1 7, Brock Gilbert 0-0 0-0 0, Jamar Ergas 0-1 0-0 0, Lleyton Parker 0-2 0-0 0, Mikey Frazier 3-6 0-0 0, Hunter Schofield 4-11 0-0 8
Three-pointers -- UND 7-19 (Nero 1-2, Sims 3-4, Sueker 2-5, Shockey 0-2, Danielson 0-3, Igbanugo 1-2, Urbonavicius 0-1), Dixie State 1-10 (Gooden 0-2, Staine 1-5, Ergas 0-1, Parker 0-1, Frazier 0-1); Rebounds -- UND 38 (Sueker 8, Ihenacho 8), Dixie State 37 (Nicolds 8); Assists -- UND 12 (Nero 7), Dixie State 11 (Staine 5); Total fouls -- UND 27, Dixie State 27; Turnovers -- UND 18, Dixie State 14.