Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department since 2004. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate.
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The UND women's basketball program's recipe for success during its tenure in the Big Sky Conference from 2012-18 was often a rugged, physical style. The Fighting Hawks would typically turn the ball over too much but they usually made up for it by outrebounding opponents and winning underneath. That formula, however, isn't going to upset the clear hierarchy in the Summit League. That much was on display Friday night in South Dakota State's 66-48 win over UND in front of 1,433 at Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.
The UND and North Dakota State men's basketball programs are in a similar place. They both feature rebuilt lineups, hold identical 8-11 records and are hoping to climb up from the bottom half of the Summit League standings in the second half of the season. In fact, for years not much has separated these two programs. Since 2000, UND and NDSU have played each other 20 times. The teams are 10-10 against each other in that span. In Grand Forks, the record is 5-5. In Fargo, the record is 5-5.
By early in the third period, the Fargo South-Shanley boys hockey team was down three goals to Grand Forks Red River and getting outshot about 4-to-1. "We started to gamble a little more," Bruins coach Dean French said. "We had to. We had no choice." South-Shanley's gamble hit the jackpot. The Bruins scored three times in the third period and Noah Lantz ended it in overtime as the Bruins beat Red River 4-3 on Thursday night at Eagles Arena.
After South Dakota State's 78-74 win over UND on Thursday night, UND men's basketball coach Brian Jones was asked about the free-throw disparity between the teams. UND shot one free throw to SDSU's 20. "That's a shocking stat," Jones said. But even Jones couldn't have known how shocking that really was in the history of UND basketball.
In its first season in the Summit League, the UND women's basketball team sits in the middle of the conference standings after five league games. The Fighting Hawks are about to learn how steep the climb is to the top. In a seven-day span, UND will play Summit leader South Dakota State (Friday, 7 p.m.) and No. 2 South Dakota (Jan. 24, 7 p.m.), while facing rival North Dakota State between those two showdowns on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Fargo.
From Day 1 this season, UND men’s basketball coach Brian Jones has conceded what his team needs to do as it transitions from the Big Sky Conference to the Summit League. The Fighting Hawks, in their first year in their new league, need to get bigger and stronger to compete with the big bodies in the Summit.
When UND center Filip Rebraca argues with officials, he makes sure to do so in Serbian. "I just don't want them to hear me complain in English," Rebraca said. "They can't call (a technical) if they don't understand what I'm saying." It's perhaps not surprising this wily move comes from a well-traveled 21-year-old freshman who grew up in NBA locker rooms. Rebraca, the son of former NBA big man Zeljko Rebraca, has become a key weapon for the Fighting Hawks during his first season in Grand Forks.
It has been a few years since Javen Butler was chasing NCAA Division I quarterbacks or running down punt returners, but the former UND linebacker still feels like he just went through quite a battle recently. The 25-year-old Butler, along with his girlfriend Shari Ligons, will be featured on USA Network's reboot of the reality television series Temptation Island. The show's first episode will air Tuesday night at 9 p.m. on USA Network. The first episode can already be streamed online on USA Network's app.
As an Abbotsford, B.C., native, and a four-year star with the British Columbia Hockey League’s Chilliwack Chiefs, UND sophomore forward Jordan Kawaguchi had plenty of family, friends and fans utilize a rare opportunity to catch Saturday night’s game on TSN in Canada. The Canadian viewers caught a glimpse of Kawaguchi’s scoring ability they likely remember from his glory days in the BCHL, while UND hockey fans hope they saw some of the beginnings of a budding college hockey star.
The UND men's basketball team faced a familiar situation Saturday afternoon against Western Illinois. Like Thursday night's one-point loss to Nebraska Omaha, the Fighting Hawks were in a down-to-the-wire Summit League battle. Unlike Thursday, however, this time UND's shooters came through in the clutch. Cortez Seales' 3-pointer from the left corner with 13.5 seconds left preserved a 71-65 win over Western Illinois in front of 1,898 at Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.