UND men's basketball team tops Chicago State

UND said goodbye Monday night to seniors Chris Clausen and Derek Benter, players that have helped lead the Sioux in the transition to Division I men's basketball.

UND Fighting Sioux logo
UND Fighting Sioux logo

UND said goodbye Monday night to seniors Chris Clausen and Derek Benter, players that have helped lead the Sioux in the transition to Division I men's basketball.

The two seniors were honored before UND's Great West Conference game against Chicago State. The seniors received the starting nod in their final home game, then watched as the future players of Sioux basketball turned in a dominating performance as UND -- behind the play of its four freshmen -- rolled past Chicago State 74-52 before 1,731 fans at The Betty.

"I see a bright future for these guys," Benter said. "If these guys stay together and continue to have good chemistry, they're going to be tough to stop."

Troy Huff -- the most explosive freshmen -- led the way with 21 points, including three baskets on crowd-pleasing dunks. In all, UND had five dunks, a handful coming in transition, as it is becoming more obvious that UND has considerably upgraded its athleticism as it moves forward in the Division I transition.

But the night belonged to Clausen and Benter. Their leadership is a big reason for UND's turnaround after the Christmas break.


"They are two young men that have pride and passion for the university," UND coach Brian Jones said. "They do things the right way all the time. They keep leading this program."

Three UND players finished in double figures. Besides Huff, junior Patrick Mitchell added 20 while Jamal Webb -- another freshman -- hit 14 points.

UND didn't get a rocket start. The Sioux shooting was cold against Chicago State's zone defense. But UND worked the offensive boards hard, finishing with 16 that led by 16 second-chance points.

UND used an 11-3 run in the final three minutes of the first half to create some distance. And the Sioux started strong in the second half. Webb hit a 3-pointer on UND's first possession and another Huff slam gave UND a 34-23 lead.

"Those boys are unbelievable," Clausen said of UND's freshmen. "I know what those guys can do. People are going to have to look out for those guys in two to three years."

Clausen joined the Sioux out of an Iowa junior college two years ago. He's been in a reserve role since coming to UND, but has provided plenty of spark off the bench.

"I wouldn't want it any other way," he said.

UND improved to 6-4 in the Great West and 14-14 overall. Chicago State, led by Christian Wall's 27 points, fell to 3-8 and 6-24.


The win also snapped a three-game losing streak and gave the Sioux one more conference win than they had last season. And they have two remaining games left in the Great West before the league's postseason tournament in Orem, Utah.

It's a tournament the Sioux feel they can win, since they've gone toe-to-toe with the two teams ahead of them.

Clausen scored three points in his final home game; Benter added two.

And Clausen walked off the UND floor for the final time with a win, a special one considering his dad, former Sioux standout Dan Clausen, made the trip from Australia to watch his son play.

"It was great to win my last time here," Clausen said.

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
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