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MEN'S BASKETBALL: UND 74, Jamestown College 66

Last Wednesday, the UND men's basketball team turned in one of the program's biggest wins in years by knocking off future Big Sky Conference mate Montana in overtime.

Last Wednesday, the UND men's basketball team turned in one of the program's biggest wins in years by knocking off future Big Sky Conference mate Montana in overtime.

A week later, another Sioux win produced a less enthused atmosphere.

The Sioux built a big lead and held off a late charge as they earned a 74-66 vanilla win over Jamestown College of the Dakota Athletic Conference at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

"We got a win, and you can't ever take a win for granted," UND coach Brian Jones said. "But we have to put together a disciplined effort for 40 minutes. We stretched the lead to 18 points, and then we forgot what it took to get there."

UND avoided losing to the Jimmies, an NAIA program, for the first time since 1946. However, it was the tightest margin of victory for the Sioux since that game. The teams have faced off 39 times, but only nine times since the 1953-54 season.

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The Sioux appeared to be hitting coast-mode when Sioux freshman Josh Gentry hit a runner in the lane for a 50-32 edge with 15 minutes left in the second half.

But the Jimmies chipped their way back into the game.

UND forward Patrick Mitchell, who finished with 21 points, took a feed from teammate Troy Huff and scored with 8 minutes, 30 seconds remaining to give the Sioux a 61-44 lead.

That would be UND's last field goal of the game.

The Jimmies responded to Mitchell's bucket with a 12-1 run. Jamestown came as close as 65-61 after a three-point play from Davon Thomas with a little more than three minutes to go.

UND would hit seven free throws from there to put the game out of reach, but not before the Jimmies put a scare into the Sioux.

"We relaxed defensively in the second half," said Mitchell, who finished with a career-high four blocks.

The glaring statistic was in total rebounds, where the Jimmies grabbed 14 more than the much-larger Sioux. Jamestown's tallest player is 6-foot-6, while the Sioux have seven players on the roster at least that tall.

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UND's starting frontcourt of Mitchell and Brandon Brekke combined to grab just two boards.

"That's a lack of focus and discipline," said Jones, whose team improved to 4-2.

But Mitchell's 3-point shooting to start the second half -- he hit two in the first minute of the second half -- built a lead just safe enough for the Sioux.

"I felt like I needed to come out and hit some shots after missing some in the first half," said Mitchell, who finished 3-for-9 from beyond the arc. "I've been struggling from the 3-point line, and you can't let that affect you."

Huff led the Sioux with 23 points on 7-for-15 shooting. He was 8-for-16, though, from the foul line, including a handful of misses down the stretch.

Jamestown was paced by four players in double figures. Mark Hoge and Brandon Robbins each had 12 points, while Byron Jones and Davon Thomas added 11 points apiece for the Jimmies. Devils Lake native B.J. Mertens started for the Jimmies, finishing with eight points and three rebounds.

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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