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Size, three-point shooting pace Milwaukee past North Dakota in opener

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 10:52 PM CST
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GRAND FORKS, N.D. (UND Athletics) - Four different players reached double figures to help lead Milwaukee past North Dakota, 75-60, in the season opener on Tuesday night from the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center in Grand Forks, N.D.

Led by Patrick Baldwin, Jr., who entered the season ranked on the Preseason Wooden Award Watchlist, scored 21 points on 6-of-14 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds in his collegiate debut to help pace the Panthers (1-0) to their first win in Grand Forks in three tries.

Three-other players reached double figures, including a pair off the bench, for the visitors in a game where the Panthers held the lead for over 39 minutes.

North Dakota (0-1) was plagued by a tough-shooting night, hitting only 20-of-69 from the field for a 29 percent mark and just eight of the 29 attempts from distance.

Paul Bruns led the way off the bench in his first-collegiate game, scoring 13 points, hauling in five boards and dishing out a trio of assists to pace the Fighting Hawks. Ethan Igbanugo was the other player in double figures for the green and white, pouring in 11 points on three makes from distance.

UND won the rebounding battle, 46-38, led by Brian Mathews’ seven and six from Mitchell Sueker and Caleb Nero.

It was a fast-paced start for both sides, but neither could get into an offensive rhythm, with the first double-digit points coming nearly seven minutes into the contest to give the Panthers an 11-5 lead.

The advantage hovered around double figures for a majority of the first half, but UND started to close the gap in the final minutes. A pair of free throws from Tsotne Tsartsidze followed by a triple in transition by Matt Norman trimmed the lead into single digits with under 60 seconds to play. Tsartsidze kept up his offensive attack on the glass, pulling down another offensive rebound, leading to another pair of makes at the charity stripe to cut the advantage to six, 34-28; however, a bucket in the final seconds by the Panthers sent the teams into the break at 36-28.

Out of the intermission, North Dakota turned to its bench to cut into the lead even further. With the advantage at 10 for the Panthers at the under-16 timeout, Nero sank his first points of the game at the line before a pair of big rebounds by Mathews and Brady Danielson led to a triple from Bruns to trim the lead down to just five, 42-37, with just under 15 minutes to go.

Milwaukee answered right back, however, with back-to-back triples to push its cushion right back to 11 less than a minute later. The Panthers pushed the lead to as high as 15 before holding off any late charges from the Hawks to close out the 75-60 victory.

North Dakota returns to action on Monday, Nov. 15 against Montana at 7 p.m. from the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. Fans can catch the game on Midco Sports or tune into the contest on the Home of Economy Radio Network.

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