Category Archives: Big Sky

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

RECAP: North Dakota routs Idaho for 12th straight conference win at home, 88-65

Carson Shanks came off the bench to record 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 blocks as North Dakota rolled to the 88-65 win over Idaho on Saturday. (Source: Russell Hons - North Dakota Men's Basketball)
Carson Shanks came off the bench to record 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 blocks as North Dakota rolled to the 88-65 win over Idaho on Saturday. (Source: Russell Hons – North Dakota Men’s Basketball)

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The Betty Engelstad Sioux Center is one tough place to play. Just ask the rest of the Big Sky Conference.

Coming into Saturday’s tilt with the Idaho Vandals, the North Dakota Fighting Hawks had won 11 straight conference games on their home floor. While they were looking to keep their streak going, they were also looking to remain in second place by themselves in the conference standings.

Fresh off a win over the Eastern Washington Eagles in their last outing, the Fighting Hawks held a one-game lead over the Eagles for second spot in the Big Sky.

Saturday was the only meeting of the year between the Vandals and the Fighting Hawks, and both were looking for another quality win to give themselves some extra momentum as March quickly approaches.

The game was tight for the first five minutes, but the North Dakota started to take over. A 22-5 run opened things up for the Fighting Hawks, who held a 13-point lead after the first half. They quickly extended their lead to 20 points early in the second half, and the Vandals were unable to mount any sort of comeback the rest of the way.

Geno Crandall scored a game-high 22 points in just 22 minutes of action, and North Dakota rolled past Idaho, 88-65. Continue reading RECAP: North Dakota routs Idaho for 12th straight conference win at home, 88-65