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MEN'S BASKETBALL: UND beats Valley City State 80-59

Four days after one of UND's more emotional losses in recent seasons, the Fighting Hawks faced a trap game against Valley City State -- an NAIA program that has had quite a bit of success this season.

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Four days after one of UND’s more emotional losses in recent seasons, the Fighting Hawks faced a trap game against Valley City State -- an NAIA program that has had quite a bit of success this season.

UND avoided the trap and left The Betty feeling better about what’s in store as the Hawks’ season is about to hit high gear.

Led by Drick Bernstine’s 20 points and 10 rebounds, UND sailed past Valley City State 80-59 on Thursday night before 1,349 fans.

“It was good to see that our guys didn’t have an emotional letdown because Valley City is talented,” said UND coach Brian Jones. “It would have been easy to do that because it’s finals week and we just lost to our rival.

“We have seven guys going through that for the first time.”

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UND controlled the tempo, paint and free-throw line for much of the night. That was the Hawks’ game plan.

Bernstine was a force inside, making 9 of his 13 attempts. He also got help from Carson Shanks, who finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. Combined, UND’s two big men were a combined 13 of 21 from the field and 5 of 8 from the line.

Overall, UND was 28 of 41 from the line and had 27 more attempts from the line than Valley City.

“It was great to see those guys go inside and be able to work,” added UND guard Quinton Hooker, who had his usual solid game with 17 points on 5 of 10 shooting.

UND has been seeking more of an inside presence this season. That presence was there against the Vikings, ranked No. 19 in the latest NAIA Division II poll.

“We came together and played as a team,” said Bernstine, a 6-foot-8 sophomore from Aurora, Colo., who was on the finishing end of a couple of transition baskets.

“We started feeling better about ourselves as the game progressed. It’s been a rough couple of games for me lately but my teammates have had my back and they’ve believed in me. Tonight, I just finished better.”

There were three lead changes, all of them in the early minutes. UND gained separation with a 13-2 run midway through the first half. Geno Crandall started the run with a traditional three-point play. Bernstine added a three-point play as well and also scored with a slam on the fastbreak.

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UND led 45-33 at halftime, thanks to 63 percent shooting and eight steals in the first 20 minutes.

UND’s lead grew to 27 points in the second half as 12 of UND’s 14 players reached the scoring column.

Valley City, a favorite to win the North Star Athletic Association, was led by Darryl Howell’s 13 points. L.J. Booth added 11.

Valley City came into the game with an 11-2 record. The game was an exhibition contest for the Vikings.

UND will take on Kansas State on Tuesday. The Hawks improved to 5-5.

“This was a good build up for Kansas State,” said Bernstine.

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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