North Dakota Stumbles 81-79 in Overtime to Denver

Published: Feb. 3, 2022 at 11:22 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - In a game where North Dakota led by as many as 19 points in the second half, Denver closed regulation on an 18-4 run to force overtime at 70-70. The Pioneers won the overtime period by an 11-9 margin to come away with the 81-79 victory inside the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center on Thursday night.

Paul Bruns was the top scorer for UND (4-20, 0-11 SL) with 22 points, while hitting five triples to go with five boards and a steal.

Brady Danielson was the other Hawk in double figures with 11 points and five rebounds.

Tsotne Tsartsidze, Bentiu Panoam and Ethan Igbanugo all netted nine points apiece.

K.J. Hunt led DU (9-16, 5-7 SL) with a game-high 32 points, four assists and three steals. Jordan Johnson was next for the Pioneers with 12 points.

In the game, North Dakota finished shooting 40.3 percent with 15 triples and 55.6 percent at the charity stripe. Denver shot 47.1 percent with six trifectas and 68.8 percent free throw shooting. The Pioneers won the statistical categories of points in the paint (42-22), rebounds (46-37), second chance points (14-8) and blocks (5-1). The Fighting Hawks held the edge in assists (19-10) and points off turnovers (16-12).

North Dakota led with 59-40 with 11:35 left in regulation, starting the second half hitting five of seven shots from distance. With just under eight minutes to go, the Hawks were up 63-48 before the Pioneers closed the game on a 22-7 run to knot the game up at 70-70 at the end of regulation.

Denver opened the overtime period with a 5-0 run, opening the extra period with a triple and then a layup before North Dakota responded with a 5-0 run of its own with a trifecta from Danielson and a Bruns jumper to even the game up at 75-75.

With 1:44 left in overtime, Coban Porter made a deep jumper to push the deficit to 77-75 and Hunt connected on two freebies the following possession to go up 79-75 with 19.5 left in overtime.

Tsartsidze had a layup before Denver made two free throws to keep the lead at 81-77. Bruns made a layup and a potential and-one was missed to make it 81-79. Denver missed the following free throw to give North Dakota a shot at the end, with Bruns heaving a half-court shot that was on target but bounced off the rim to allow the Pioneers to steal the 81-79 victory.

UND was hitting 42.3 percent at the clip at intermission and led by Bruns with nine points, while DU converted 38.7 percent of its shots into points in the opening period.

The game opened with UND leading 18-11 midway through the opening period after back-to-back triples from Danielson and Bruns. North Dakota continued leading 30-22 with 3:57 left in the opening period and led 36-30 at the break after a Bruns triple from NBA-range.

North Dakota will wrap up its three-game homestand on Saturday with Omaha. The Fighting Hawks and Mavericks will tip at 1 p.m. (CT) on Midco Sports 2 and the game will be carried by the Home of Economy Radio Network.

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