ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

MEN'S BASKETBALL: UND routs Minnesota Morris 110-69 in opener

One of the most veteran UND basketball teams in recent memory opened the season Wednesday night. The experience bunch performed to expectations, but the play of two athletes in their first games in the program might have been the most encouraging...

UND's Jaron Nash moves in to dunk
UND's Jaron Nash moves in to dunk the ball against Minnesota Morris Wednesday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

One of the most veteran UND basketball teams in recent memory opened the season Wednesday night. The experience bunch performed to expectations, but the play of two athletes in their first games in the program might have been the most encouraging sight.

True freshman Quinton Hooker and senior Texas Tech transfer Jaron Nash were among five players in double figures as UND routed Minnesota Morris 110-69 in front of 1,597 fans at Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

The 110 points were the most for UND since Nov. 24, 2003, when North Dakota beat Morris 113-59.

UND senior Aaron Anderson led the way with 23 points, followed by Troy Huff and Lenny Antwi with 18 apiece. Hooker had 17 points and a team-high four assists, while Nash had 15 points and a team-high seven rebounds.

"We came out with some intensity and energy," said Nash, who was 6-for-9 from the field including a make on his only 3-point attempt. "We pressured them without taking too many chances. We were solid in our pressure and that got us into our transition game."

ADVERTISEMENT

UND opened the game on an 18-5 run and used a 19-2 spurt midway through the first half to build a comfortable cushion.

"Defensively we set the tone," UND coach Brian Jones said. "That allowed us to get easy ones in transition. Both halves we came out with a sense of urgency. Those are the things we're constantly talking about."

Nash was playing in his first game with UND after sitting out all of last season after the NCAA denied the program's waiver request to allow Nash to play immediately after his transfer. He transferred to UND to be closer to his ill father, a decision that came with full support of Texas Tech. The last game Nash played was in the Big 12 tournament against Oklahoma two years ago.

Nash's athleticism and versatility were shown early in the second half during a quick sequence in which he scored three straight buckets for UND.

He hit a 3-pointer, then had consecutive dunks in transition. On the second dunk, Nash added a little flair by putting one hand behind his head before throwing it down.

"It felt real good," Nash said. "Last year I had to watch. To be out with my team, it was fun and exciting."

Hooker, the reigning Minnesota Mr. Basketball winner from Park Center High School, was also dazzling in his debut. He found out on Tuesday he wouldn't redshirt.

"Quinton couldn't have had a better freshman game," Jones said. "He allowed the game to come to him and he defended well. He really had a lot of poise, which is tough for a freshman."

ADVERTISEMENT

Hooker, a 6-foot, 195-pound point guard, had just one of UND's six turnovers. Morris had 24 turnovers.

"Obviously it's a different level and pace to the game," Hooker said. "But it felt great to be out there. I was planning on redshirting but hearing the words I was going to play was great."

UND played without three expected regulars. Senior post Brandon Brekke is suffering from a lingering head injury from last season and his return is unknown. Senior guard Josh Schuler and senior forward Alonzo Traylor served a one-game suspension for violating team rules.

UND's Aaron Anderson moves through Minnesota Morris defenders
UND's Aaron Anderson moves through Minnesota Morris defenders Kevin Heysee, background, and John Haseman as UND's Chad Calcaterra looks on in Wednesday's opening game at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center in Grand Forks. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

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.
What To Read Next
The league would launch in summer 2024 and is polling interest in possible host cities.
Featuring the prep honor roll, N.D. Class A and B prep basketball polls, N.D. East Region girls wrestling duals tournament schedule and much more!
The Tuesday, Jan. 31, game between Sioux Falls Lincoln and Watertown was forced to move after junior JT Rock broke the rim with a powerful two-handed dunk. Rock is committed to play at Iowa State.
Featuring prep basketball results from throughout the region, boys and girls hockey scores, area college basketball conference standings, and much more!