Junior Troy Huff had his third double-double of the season to lead North Dakota to a 69-52 victory over Idaho State on Saturday in Big Sky play. Huff finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while classmate Aaron Anderson added 16 points to get the Green and White back to .500 in league play.
Junior Jamal Webb added 12 points and a season-high seven assists to help UND (9-12, 6-6 BSC) secure a season sweep of Idaho State (4-17, 3-9 BSC). In all, UND dished out a season-high 17 assists in Big Sky play, while turning the ball over only five times.
UND's defense also held Idaho State to 38 percent shooting from the floor, had six blocks and nine steals, while forcing 14 turnovers.
"Today was about our defense," UND head coach Brian Jones said. "We were dialed on that end of the floor and it led to some easy baskets on the offensive end."
UND jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead in the opening four minutes before the Bengals finally got on the scoreboard thanks to a layup by Andre Hatchett, who finished with a team-high 16 points for the visitors.
Idaho State would steadily erase the deficit over the next 10 minutes, making the contest a back-and-forth affair before the visitors went cold from the field late in the half.
Idaho State held an 18-17 advantage after a layup by Nnmadi Ezenwa with just over eight minutes to play, but the Bengals would make only two field goals the rest of the way as UND was able to create some separation.
UND did that by outscoring Idaho State 16-4 during that stretch to build a 33-22 lead at the break. The opening 20 minutes included three dunks by the home team including a one-handed alley-oop finish by Huff from Anderson.
It was a baseline runner by Anderson that gave UND its lead for good at 19-18. UND had 11 assists in the opening half as the team went 13-for-27 from the field and that 48.1 percent clip could have been even higher if not for a couple of wide open layups that were off the mark.
The Bengals would not let UND pull away until in the second half and had the contest in single digits until senior Jordan Allard sparked a 10-4 run that was capped by another Huff dunk. Allard had all six of his points during that stretch midway through the half, which included a putback and a charge on the defensive end.
"I thought Jordan really gave us a lift there in the second half after we were playing kind of sluggish," Jones said. "He made some energy plays for us that I thought really helped us secure this win."
UND's advantage would never dip back into single digits after that spurt as the Green and White dealt the Bengals their fourth straight loss.
UND will make the Big Sky's Montana swing next week in Big Sky play starting at Montana State on Thursday at 8 p.m. CT.