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Late night at the movies pays off for UND men's basketball

A week ago, UND left the Stott Center at Portland State for its hotel. Once back at the hotel, UND players watched--in its entirety--Portland State's 99-62 dismantling of the Fighting Hawks in the teams' Big Sky Conference opener.

Geno Crandall
Geno Crandall
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A week ago, UND left the Stott Center at Portland State for its hotel. Once back at the hotel, UND players watched-in its entirety-Portland State's 99-62 dismantling of the Fighting Hawks in the teams' Big Sky Conference opener.

"We had to watch the whole game, from start to finish and it was a good thing for us," said UND sophomore guard Geno Crandall. "We saw what we did bad. Moving forward, it'll probably be a defining moment for us because we figured out a lot of things."

UND responded two nights later with an overtime win at Sacramento State and tonight the Hawks will host Northern Arizona in another Big Sky game.

The loss at Portland was upsetting considering UND is projected to be one of the teams to beat this season in the league.

"This (program) hadn't been beaten like that in, I want to say, three years on opening night at Northern Colorado," said UND coach Brian Jones. "That was the senior years of Troy Huff and Aaron Anderson. Same deal. Things snowballed on us. But they responded."

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After that Dec. 29, 2013 loss at Northern Colorado, UND went on to reach the championship game of the Big Sky Conference postseason tournament.

UND now will play four of its next six Big Sky games at The Betty. UND has not played a home game in 45 days.

"It'll be nice to have some people rooting, cheering for us, and having our backs instead of us being against the world," said Crandall.

UND went 7-2 in league play last season at home.

Northern Arizona is 0-1 in the league and 3-11 overall. The Lumberjacks have lost six of their past seven games. In its league opener, Northern Arizona fell to Southern Utah 93-80. SUU dropped 16 three-pointers on NAU.

UND (1-1, 6-6 overall) will host Southern Utah (1-0, 3-11) on Saturday and the Thunderbirds, with a new coaching staff, have the league's top scorer in 6-foot-3 transfer guard Randy Onwuasor (23.1 ppg). Onwuasor played the past two seasons at Texas Tech.

UND's movie night in its Portland hotel was viewed as a learning tool.

"It was a teaching lesson," said Jones. "We didn't have to say much. You can never get too high or too low. But at Portland, we didn't play like anything that resembled this team. We allowed circumstances to get to us, like the weather, travel.

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"But you have to understand you still have to bring it, regardless of circumstances. And our guys responded."

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 wnelson@gfherald.com.
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