(Photo Credit:Russ Hons-UND Athletics)
Coming into this one, UND had a prime opportunity to pull even in Summit League play before taking on a Western Illinois team picked near the bottom of the league Saturday. That did not happen as Omaha was able to use a last second three to clinch a remarkable comeback win against the Fighting Hawks at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center in front of a loud crowd. Conner Avants came inches away from equalizing things with a free throw that rang off the rim with .6 seconds left to end it at the 92-91 loss.
That is how the game ended. The final score is not indicative of the good that happened for the Fighting Hawks as they played a consistent game throughout. Avants lead the way for UND with 24 points on offense. Aanen Moody provided a spark off the bench for the team knocking down six three-pointers on the night for 18 points. Cortez Seales contributed another strong effort with 16 points. The team found ways to score and fast routinely tonight. This multi-faceted inside-outside game the Fighting Hawks played tonight is repeatable in the Summit League to get this team where they want to go.
What should not be repeated and what did the Fighting Hawks in was the lack of rebounding. Head Coach Brian Jones noted the issues Omaha had coming in with its rebounding and small average of offensive boards(he noted seven). Tonight, the Mavericks finished with 15 offensive boards which lead to 19 second chance points. UND had nine offensive boards and 13 second chance points. Jones and Avants noted the need for the team to improve quickly in the rebounding category.
If they can consistently rebound and get a similar amount of offensive production they can put away more teams the rest of the way. That all starts this Saturday against the Leathernecks of Western Illinois.