GAME NOTES: North Dakota tries to pick up a rare win on the road tonight, as the squad tangles with the Eastern Washington Eagles in Big Sky Conference play at Reese Court.
Just 1-6 away from home this season, North Dakota has bounced back from a very rough opening to the campaign in order to put together a three-game win streak at the moment. Last weekend, UND topped Northern Arizona at home in a convincing 84-68 final, moving the hosts to 5-3 in conference play.
Meanwhile, the Eagles have hit a bit of a snag in recent weeks, dropping three of their last four games. Three nights ago, the team was taken down by Portland State on the road in a 92-83 decision. With a little more than a month remaining in the regular season, EWU is just 3-5 in conference action.
North Dakota leads the all-time series by a count of 3-1, posting a 78-74 victory in the most recent encounter in Cheney last March.
In a game that featured five ties and eight lead changes, North Dakota allowed the Lumberjacks to shoot 51.1 percent from the floor, but overcame that by forcing 16 turnovers and converting an impressive 13-of-23 behind the 3-point line. Jamal Webb scored 15 points off the bench, leading five players in double figures, with Aaron Anderson and fellow reserve Cole Stefan both posting 13 points. Jaron Nash and Ryan Salmonson accounted for 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Although he didn't score in double figures the last time out, Troy Huff remains a top-notch producer for North Dakota, averaging 16.5 ppg in conference play. One of the top scorers in team history, Huff has had some struggles in league action with only 40.9 percent accuracy from the floor and 7-of-28 behind the 3-point line, but he has shined on the glass instead where he has pulled down 8.3 rpg.
Eastern Washington shot a solid 49.2 percent from the floor against Portland State and also won the battle of the boards, 37-28, but those efforts were nullified by the team's 19 turnovers in the nine-point road loss. Ognjen Miljkovic tried to keep the Eagles in the mix as he dropped in a game-high 32 points, shooting 11-of-14 from the floor, but he was also tagged for seven miscues. Tyler Harvey contributed 18 points and Venky Jois logged a double- double consisting of 11 points and 10 boards.
The scoring outburst by Miljkovic was quite unexpected given that the freshman is averaging just 9.9 ppg and has been in the starting lineup only twice in 13 appearances. Instead, the Eagles have leaned more heavily on Harvey (21.0 ppg) who is shooting a very strong 44.6 percent from 3-point range. On the inside is Jois with his 13.4 ppg and 8.6 rpg, while fellow starters Drew Brandon and Parker Kelly check in with 10.5 and 10.1 ppg, respectively.
With six wins in seven games at home this season, EWU is not an easy target in Cheney, but if Huff is able to find a rhythm then there's no reason to think North Dakota can't score the win.
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