Category Archives: Big Sky

Fans select College Court Report Player of the Year for third straight season

Mark Alstork was looking to ride the momentum from the past six weeks to the Player of the Year crown, while North Dakota’s Quinton Hooker was looking to win back-to-back Player of the Year awards.
CALGARY, Alta. — The 2016-17 season may be all but a distant memory for most fans across the country, but there was still plenty to be excited about for fans of both the North Dakota Fighting Hawks and the Wright State Raiders.

The third annual College Court Report Player of the Year Fan Vote was in its final week, as the initial field of 96 players had been cut down to just two. Quinton Hooker was matched up with Mark Alstork in the finale, capping off a seven-week journey to name the Player of the Year.

Last year, Hooker was named the CCR Player of the Year, knocking off Damon Lynn in the final round. This time around, fans of North Dakota had a heavy presence on social media, as well as the online polls. As the weeks have gone on, the support system behind Hooker had picked up steam, and he was looking to build on that in the final week.

On the flip side, a heavy dose of social media votes over the first six weeks propelled Alstork into the finals. After a tough battle with guard DeWayne Russell in the semi-finals, Alstork was looking to knock off the reigning Player of the Year.

Both players saw an out-pouring of support over the past seven days across all three voting platforms, but only one could come out on top.

After seven weeks, and over 190,000 votes, the 2016-17 College Court Report Player of the Year is…… Continue reading Fans select College Court Report Player of the Year for third straight season

RECAP: North Dakota fends off Weber State in overtime to earn first ever trip to the Big Dance

Corey Baldwin (10 points) was one of six players to score in double figures for North Dakota as they advanced to their first ever NCAA Tournament on Saturday with a win over Weber State. (Source: Russell Hons – North Dakota Basketball)

RENO, Nev. — It took an extra five minutes of action, but it was all worth it in the end.

Before the 2016-17 season got underway, many picked either the reigning champion Weber State Wildcats or the North Dakota Fighting Hawks to win the conference title and represent the Big Sky in the NCAA Tournament.

On Saturday night, in Reno, the two teams met in the Big Sky tournament with a spot in the NCAA Tournament on the line.

North Dakota won their first regular season Big Sky crown, and came in as the one-seed. Weber State, the defending champions, came in as the three-seed. Both rosters are decorated with star-caliber players, so it was bound to be a tight contest from the start.

After the Fighting Hawks took a four-point lead into the break, Weber State bounced back and opened up an 11-point lead of their own midway through the second frame. North Dakota fought their way back, and forced overtime on a layup from Geno Crandall in the final seconds.

In the extra frame, big baskets from Crandall and Quinton Hooker pushed North Dakota ahead with two minutes to play. From there, the Fighting Hawks held on for the 93-89 victory over Weber State to punch their first ever ticket to the Big Dance as a Division I program. Continue reading RECAP: North Dakota fends off Weber State in overtime to earn first ever trip to the Big Dance

RECAP: North Dakota eases into Big Sky semifinals with 95-72 win over Portland State

Corey Baldwin picked a good time for his first career double-double, as his 18 points and 10 rebounds helped North Dakota cruise past Portland State in the Big Sky quarter-finals. (Source: Russell Hons, North Dakota Basketball)

RENO, Nev. — Some say that it’s not how you start that matters, but how you finish. On the flip side, sometimes a strong start can lead to the finish you’re looking for.

On Thursday afternoon, in the Big Sky quarter-finals, the latter held true for the North Dakota Fighting Hawks in their match-up against the Portland State Vikings.

Fresh off their first Big Sky regular season title in school history, North Dakota was the top seed in the conference tournament. They began their quest for their first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament on Thursday, and make a statement in the process.

Portland State was playing their second game in three days. After dumping the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks by 13 points on Tuesday, things got a lot tougher on Thursday against the Fighting Hawks.

Out of the gate, the Fighting Hawks came ready to play. They opened the game by hitting 19 of their first 26 shot attempts, and while they went cold down the stretch in the opening half, they held a 14-point lead at the break.

The second half saw North Dakota continue to pull away, and the Fighting Hawks eased their way into the Big Sky semifinals with a 95-72 win over Portland State. Continue reading RECAP: North Dakota eases into Big Sky semifinals with 95-72 win over Portland State

RECAP: North Dakota secures first Big Sky regular season crown in 82-73 win over Portland State

Geno Crandall (above, 21 points) and Quinton Hooker (top, 29 points) combined for 50 points in the 82-73 win for North Dakota over Portland State on Saturday. (Source: Russell Hons - North Dakota Men's Basketball)
Geno Crandall (above, 21 points) and Quinton Hooker (top, 29 points) combined for 50 points in the 82-73 win for North Dakota over Portland State on Saturday. (Source: Russell Hons – North Dakota Men’s Basketball)

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — On Senior Night inside ‘The Betty’, graduating guard Quinton Hooker made sure he left a lasting impression in what could be his final home game with the North Dakota Fighting Hawks.

Against the visiting Portland State Vikings in the Big Sky finale for both teams, Hooker poured in a game-high 29 points to help lead the Fighting Hawks to the 82-73 victory.

The win secured the top seed for the Fighting Hawks in the Big Sky tournament down in Reno, Nevada. It was also the first-ever regular season Big Sky championship for the Fighting Hawks, as they finish conference play at 14-4.
Continue reading RECAP: North Dakota secures first Big Sky regular season crown in 82-73 win over Portland State

4th Annual College Court Report 351-Team Ultimate Bracket

Zach Collins, Nigel Williams-Goss (5), and the Gonzaga Bulldogs are the top seed in our 351 team ultimate bracket.
Zach Collins, Nigel Williams-Goss (5), and the Gonzaga Bulldogs are the top seed in our 351 team ultimate bracket.

Every year, teams see their dreams of making the NCAA Tournament come true, while others accept bids into other post-season tournaments.

Last season, 68 teams made the NCAA Tournament, 32 made the NIT, 16 made the College Basketball Invitational, 32 made the CollegeInsider.Com Tournament, and 8 teams took part in the inaugural Vegas 16 tournament. If the math is correct, that leaves 195 teams without a spot in post-season play.

Some teams aren’t even eligible for post-season play due to off-court issues, whether it’s due to low APR scorers or self-imposed bans.

That’s where we come in. We don’t discriminate, and even teams who aren’t eligible in the real world are welcome in our eyes. Living up to the Canadian stereotype of always being nice, we have included all 351 teams into one hypothetical post-season tournament.

For the fourth year in a row, the College Court Report 351-Team Ultimate Bracket is back to give a look at what it would be like if every single team in the country took part in the same post-season tournament. Continue reading 4th Annual College Court Report 351-Team Ultimate Bracket

RECAP: North Dakota pulls away in second half for 77-61 win at Idaho State

North Dakota forward Drick Bernstine scored a season-high 16 points on Thursday, and was one of four starters to score in double figures for the Fighting Hawks in their 77-61 win over Idaho State.
North Dakota forward Drick Bernstine scored a season-high 16 points on Thursday, and was one of four starters to score in double figures for the Fighting Hawks in their 77-61 win over Idaho State.

POCATELLO, ID. — The 2016-17 season hasn’t been too kind to the Idaho State Bengals, especially after how they fared a season ago.

The arrival of guard Ethan Telfair last year changed the fortunes for the Bengals, and they vaulted up into fourth spot in the Big Sky standings. Entering this year, the Bengals were a trendy pick in the race for the Big Sky crown, but they have been unable to build off the momentum they created last season.

On Thursday night, Idaho State welcomed the North Dakota Fighting Hawks to town. A win over North Dakota would give the Bengals a big boost of momentum heading into the conference in just a couple of weeks.

While the Bengals would hold a slim lead early on, the Fighting Hawks would pull away as the opening half ticked away. After taking a seven-point lead into the break, North Dakota wouldn’t trail in the second half.

Four starters scored in double figures on the night, and North Dakota pulled away in the second half for the 77-61 victory over Idaho State on Thursday night. Continue reading RECAP: North Dakota pulls away in second half for 77-61 win at Idaho State