UND responds with thrilling 82-78 overtime win over NDSU

Fighting Hawks move to 3-3 in Summit League play; five reach double figures
UND Men's basketball, Ethan Igbanugo
UND Men's basketball, Ethan Igbanugo(KVLY)
Published: Jan. 16, 2021 at 10:57 PM CST
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GRAND FORKS, N.D. (UND Athletics) - After Friday’s loss, North Dakota head men’s basketball coach Paul Sather challenged his team for a response on Saturday, and his team delivered with an 82-78 overtime victory over North Dakota State at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center in Grand Forks.

UND (4-11, 3-3 Summit League) trailed by six in the final two minutes of regulation, but the duo of Filip Rebraca and Mitchell Sueker anchored the comeback and helped the Fighting Hawks lead wire-to-wire in the extra session to hand the Bison (7-7, 5-1 Summit League) their first loss in league play.

Sueker turned in his best game since moving to the Division I level, as the South Dakota School of Mines transfer scored a team-high 22 points on 7-of-10 from the field while grabbing four rebounds and finishing the game with a +10 rating. The junior was clutch at the charity stripe in the final moments of the second half and overtime, hitting seven of his eight attempts at the line to help seal the win for the hosts.

Rebraca bounced back from his tough shooting night on Friday with a 9-for-16 performance from the field to score 21 points, grabbed seven boards, dished out three assists and swiped a trio of balls to notch his 23rd straight game with at least 10 points.

It was a career night for Ethan Igbanugo, as the junior played a career-high 42 minutes and scored a personal-best 18 points. The Lakeville, Minn., native sank three triples and matched his career high for assists with four. Tyree Ihenacho was the fourth Fighting Hawk in double figures, scoring 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting while grabbing three rebounds, a pair of steals and two helpers.

Following an uplifting performance off the bench yesterday, Bentiu Panoam was rewarded with the start and did not disappoint. The senior sank three triples in the opening half to help get the Hawks off to a strong start before icing the game at the line with a free throw to tally a 10-point outing.

It was a much more energetic start for the Fighting Hawks out of the gate, building an 11-8 lead at the game’s first media stoppage thanks to an early triple from Panoam and a pair of buckets each from Rebraca and Ihenacho. The lead exchanged hands 10 times over the next nine minutes, but a third three from Panoam of the first half put the Hawks back in front, 19-18, with just over seven minutes to play in the first half.

The teams continued to go back-and-forth over the next few minutes, with the guards pacing the offensive attack for the Hawks. After back-to-back Igbanugo buckets, Ihenacho earned UND’s first and second trips to the charity stripe on the weekend with two straight and-1 finishes to put the hosts up, 31-26, with 2:40 to play in the stanza.

North Dakota closed the half shooting 14-of-29 from the field (.483), including knocking down four triples, while holding NDSU to just 11-of-30 (.367) and forcing six turnovers to carry a 34-31 lead into halftime.

Out of the half, UND built its largest lead of the game up to that point, with Rebraca knocking down a pair of triples sandwiched between an Igbanugo triple to push the advantage to eight, 41-33, just two minutes into the second period. NDSU battled back, however, cutting the lead down to just a pair, 46-44, at the first media timeout of the half.

The Bison took their first lead of the second half with an 8-0 run that held the Fighting Hawks scoreless for three minutes to move in front, 49-46, with 12:51 to play and forced a UND timeout. It was all Sueker out of the timeout for the hosts, scoring five straight points and forcing a turnover on the defense to close the gap to a single point, 52-51, at the under-12 stoppage.

After a three-minute scoreless drought for both sides that kept the game deadlocked at 56, NDSU finally broke through with five straight to take a 61-56 lead with exactly four minutes to go. The Bison extended the lead to six with just over two minutes to play, but a bucket from Rebraca and a pair of free throws from Sueker trimmed it right back to down to two, 65-63, with 57.9 remaining.

The Marshall, Minn., native was clutch at the line in the final moments, hitting four straight free throws to tie the game at 67 with 11.7 on the clock. On the ensuing possession, NDSU got a pair of looks for the win, but both fell short and we headed to overtime.

In overtime, the first few minutes turned into a free throw shooting fest, with both teams trading shots at the charity stripe. Rebraca sank a pair of shots at the line before forcing a turnover on the other end to give UND possession with a 74-72 lead and 1:22 on the clock.

After NDSU went 1-for-2 at the line, Sueker matched his Division I high in scoring with a driving layup to extend the advantage to three, 76-73, with just over 40 seconds left. On the next Bison possession, Ihenacho drew an offensive foul and gave the ball back to the Hawks where Sueker hit 1-of-2 before a Bison triple made it 79-76 with 14.1 to go.

The duo of Igbanugo and Panoam salted it away at the charity stripe to give UND the 82-78 win and hand the Bison their first loss in conference play.

North Dakota returns to action next Friday night with a showdown against South Dakota State from Frost Arena in Brookings, S.D.

NOTES: Filip Rebraca has reached double figures for the 23rd straight game … Ethan Igbanugo scored a career-high 18 points … UND saw five players reach double figures for the first time since March 8, 2020 in the Summit League Quarterfinal win over South Dakota … The Hawks move to 98-47 all-time at home vs. NDSU and 163-140 in the overall series … UND improves to 5-20 against DI opponents located along I-29 since joining the SL … Sueker and Rebraca are the first duo since Feb. 26, 2020 at Omaha to each have over 20 points … UND lost the rebounding battle, 44-28 … Rocky Kreuser had a career-high 32 points for the Bison … UND improves to 15-3 under Paul Sather when leading at halftime … The Hawks now own a 42-8 record when scoring at least 80 points over the last four seasons … UND went 17-for-22 at the line … The Hawks shot a season-best .483 from the field … The loss was the Bison’s first conference loss since Feb. 22, 2020 at North Dakota … The last time these two went to overtime was Feb. 7, 2004 in a 76-73 Fighting Sioux win at the Ralph Engelstad Arena, the final game as Division II opponents.

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