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North Dakota Wins Its First Big Sky Game – And It’s a Road Game!

January 4, 2013

UND went to Pocatello last night and took down Idaho State in what would normally be a fairly nondescript conference win. However, this one was big for two reasons: first, UND actually won a road game and second, it was their first ever Big Sky win.

Idaho State is the worst team in the league, so take all stats with a grain of salt, but they did allow Idaho State to score only .84 points per possession. However, that is a bit of fools gold as Idaho State shot 56% from two and only turned it over on 14% of their possessions. Their problems stemmed from taking too many threes, and making just 2 of them. Because teams who shoot a lot of threes tend to have a problem with offensive rebounds, Idaho State only rebounded 9% of their misses. That allowed UND to withstand Idaho State’s excellent shooting day inside.

Offensively, UND benefitted most from grabbing 40% of their misses. They have been a terrible offensive rebounding team (mostly because they send everyone back on defense to slow the pace down) in every year they’ve been a D1 program, so this was more of a one game anomaly helped by the fact that Idaho State ranks 325th nationally in defensive rebounding. I wouldn’t expect it to continue, so it’s imperative that they hit a few more shots, especially from three where they have been disappointing this year.

Individually UND got a big boost from Troy Huff. I’ve been critical of Huff in his time at UND because of his terrible efficiency, but he was 5-9 from two last night and has to take a lot of tough shots. If he did that every night we would see UND’s offense start to look a lot better. Speaking of looking better, Aaron Anderson was 3-6 from three last night, raising his season percentage to 37.7%. Given how he has shot it from beyond the arc so far in his college career, he needs to shoot it every time he gets an open look.

Congrats to UND for their first ever Big Sky win last night, and any road win is a good road win, but given how bad Idaho State was and how (relatively) well they were able to stop UND I still have the same questions I did heading into Big Sky play.

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