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It was Ugly Sweater Night at The Betty on Friday night, a usual holiday tradition for many. The sweaters worn by the UND coaching staff were, yes, ugly and loud. But the sight of UND’s performance on the court was mostly eye-pleasing.
Nothing out of the ordinary happened during UND’s expected win over Mayville State on Wednesday night at The Betty. And, based on the past week, that was a good thing. UND’s 84-50 win over the Comets before 1,315 fans left the Fighting Hawks mostly satisfied with their performance after back-to-back drubbings at the hands of Milwaukee and Iowa State.
Cortez Seales was a sophomore on the 2016 UND men’s basketball team that won the Big Sky Conference and reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time in the program’s Division I history. Seales now is one of two seniors on a UND team that has 11 new players. But the 6-foot-4 forward likes what he’s seen from the team’s youthful players so far.
UND faced off against Milwaukee of the Horizon League for the second time this season as the teams met at The Betty on Sunday. The Fighting Hawks won a three-point decision in Milwaukee in November. The rematch figured to be close. It was -- until the closing minutes.
EDINBURG, Texas—UND didn't take care of the basketball against UT Rio Grande Valley on Wednesday night. And the end result was predictable. UND's season-high 30 turnovers helped lead UT Rio Grande Valley to a 70-56 win over the Fighting Hawks. The loss dropped UND to 4-5 while the Vaqueros improved to 7-4. UT Rio Grande Valley turned UND's turnover problems into 29 points. Cortez Seales led UND with 17 points, going 7-for-12 from the field. Kienan Walter added 15 for the Hawks. Javon Levi's 15 points led the Vaqueros.
AMHERST, Mass.—UND's Lexi Klabo put on quite a show during the Fighting Hawks' swing through New England this week. Klabo scored 30 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in leading UND past Massachusetts 59-52 on Wednesday afternoon at the William D. Mullins Center—a win that improved the Fighting Hawks to 2-4. UMass dropped to 5-3. On Tuesday night, Klabo finished with 30 points and 10 rebounds in a 77-63 UND loss at Rhode Island.
Men's basketball 6 Tuesday's results Montana State 81, UND 76 UND 36 40 --76 MSU 34 47 --81 UND—Billy Brown 5-7 3-4 17, Davids Atelbauers 2-5 0-2 5, Cortez Seales 4-13 3-4 14, Kienan Walter 2-4 1-3 6, Conner Avants 1-3 4-4 7, Aanan Moody 4-9 0-0 11, Bentiu Panoam 7-8 0-1 15, Filip Rebraca 1-2 0-0 2, Marco Coudreau 0-1 0-0 0, Jal Bijiek 0-1 0-0 0, Elijah Hazekamp 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-53 11-18 76
With 11 new players, UND's youth will be tested a time or two early in the season. With two experienced seniors, however, those tests have been made a little easier for UND's youth. Seniors Conner Avants (22 points) and Cortez Seales (15) led the Fighting Hawks past Concordia, Neb., 89-56 on Tuesday night at The Betty before 1,374 fans—a win that improved UND's record to 4-1. The Hawks never were in any serious trouble and steadily pulled away after an 8-0 run gave them a 32-22 lead with seven minutes left in the first half.
Call it a Kentucky hangover. But UND's headache fortunately didn't affect its work day. The Fighting Hawks, two days removed from playing one of the blue bloods of college basketball, shrugged off a slow start against Minnesota Morris on Saturday afternoon at The Betty and cruised to a 112-58 win before 1,665 fans. The Hawks nailed 14 three-pointers on the day and placed five players in double figures and its talked-about athleticism was on full display in the wide-open game.
LEXINGTON, Ky.—UND's first venture into the rare air of blue blood college basketball went about as expected. UND had a few good moments, some so-so moments and a handful of back-breaking stretches—all leading to No. 10 Kentucky's 96-58 win over the Fighting Hawks on Wednesday night before 18,555 fans at Rupp Arena. UND, which received a $100,000 pay day for its trip to Lexington, dropped to 2-1 while Kentucky—a national power that went back to the basics after a slower-than-expected start to the season—improved to 2-1.