Tag Archives: Big Sky

Forward Drick Bernstine to transfer from North Dakota; Immediately eligible in 2017-18

After two solid seasons with the Fighting Hawks, Drick Bernstine will transfer for his final year of eligibility.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — What a year it was in 2016-17 for the North Dakota Fighting Hawks in the Big Sky Conference.

Led by guards Quinton Hooker and Geno Crandall, the Hawks took home the Big Sky regular season and tournament titles, punching their first-ever ticket to the NCAA Tournament in the process. Despite an opening round loss to the Arizona Wildcats, the 2016-17 season was seen as a big success for the program on the national scene.

Fast forward to the 2017-18 season, and the team will look quite different than it did a year ago. Hooker and Corey Baldwin have graduated, while Carson Shanks has transferred to the Loyola (IL) Ramblers for his final year of eligibility.

On Friday morning, it was announced that another big piece from North Dakota’s run to the Big Dance would no longer be in the mix next season.

Forward Drick Bernstine announced his intentions to transfer from the program for his final year of eligibility and become a graduate transfer. Continue reading Forward Drick Bernstine to transfer from North Dakota; Immediately eligible in 2017-18

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

Trifecta: Three teams with the best chance of earning their first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament

Matt Mooney and the South Dakota Coyotes earned their first-ever regular season Summit League crown this season, and will look to turn that into their first-ever trip to the Big Dance. (Source: South Dakota Athletics)
Matt Mooney and the South Dakota Coyotes earned their first-ever regular season Summit League crown this season, and will look to turn that into their first-ever trip to the Big Dance. (Source: South Dakota Athletics)
CALGARY, Alta. — Some power conference teams simply don’t know what it’s like to not make the NCAA Tournament each year. Teams like the Kansas JayhawksMichigan State Spartans, and even the top-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs have lengthy streaks of appearances in the Big Dance.

On the flip side, some smaller programs are still awaiting their first spot in the magical field of 68.

Advancing to the NCAA Tournament is always tougher for smaller programs. In most cases, non-power conferences are only represented by their respective conference champions. Outside of the Missouri Valley Conference and the West Coast Conference, it’s very rare to see to see multiple teams from the same small conference in the field of 68.

This season, the level of parity across the NCAA appears to be at an all-time high. So far in March, we’ve already seen our fair share of upsets. The Campbell Camels knocked off the UNC Asheville Bulldogs behind a Big South record 51 points from Chris Clemons, and two of the top three teams are already out of the Big South tournament.

Because of these upsets, it makes us think that anything is possible.

In the latest edition of the Trifecta, here are three teams who appear to have the best chance of securing their first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Note: the three teams listed below have yet to begin their conference tournaments.
Continue reading Trifecta: Three teams with the best chance of earning their first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament

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