12th-ranked Gonzaga rallies to knock off UND in OT

SPOKANE, Wash. (UND Athletics) -- In the end, 12th-ranked Gonzaga survived North Dakota's upset bid by posting an 89-83 overtime victory over the Fighting Hawks, but the visitors did not make it easy on the reigning 2017 NCAA Tournament runner-up Saturday at The Kennel.

Junior Geno Crandall scored 22 of his game-high 28 points after halftime and classmate Cortez Seales added a season- high 23 points to pace the Fighting Hawks (4-7), who led by as many as 12 in the second half.

The Bulldogs (9-2) completed the comeback by erasing both 12 and nine-point deficits in the second half. The latter came thanks to a 15-2 run over a five-minute stretch that put the home team up 68-64 with 1:04 to play, but Crandall would not let the Zags close out the comeback in regulation.

After Johnathan Williams made 1-of-2 free throws to put the Bulldogs up three, Crandall hit a step-back triple with 1.9 to make it 69-69 and force overtime.

The Zags finally put the clamps down on the game, however, racing out to a 10-0 advantage in the extra session that UND would never recover from. Gonzaga would outscore UND 20-14 in overtime, shooting 5-for-7 from the field after making only 41.5 percent of its shots in regulation.

"We saw tonight what this team is capable of doing," UND head coach Brian Jones said. "And, that only happens when we're invested for 40 minutes, not 20 or 30 like we have been here recently. I couldn't be any more proud of this team because we finally competed at the level that I know we can."

Seales, who went 11-for-15 from the field, and Crandall, who went 9-for-16, helped UND shoot a season-high 52 percent from the floor against a Division I foe.

Sophomore Marlon Stewart and senior Dale Jones also reached dobule figures for the Fighting Hawks with 15 and 14 points, respectively.

Junior point guard Josh Perkins added a team-high 20 points for the Zags and 18 of those coming after halftime. Redshirt freshman Zach Norvell, Jr., also got it going after halftime. He scored 10 second-half points and added seven in overtime to help complete the Zags' rally.

It didn't look good early for the Fighting Hawks as they fell behind 6-0 in the opening three minutes of the contest, but the visitors would control the rest of the opening half to build a 34-30 lead at the break. It was the first time UND led a ranked opponent during its Division I history.

After picking up an early foul, Jones returned to the game and scored five straight for the Fighting Hawks to get them on the scoreboard.

Seales missed his first field goal attempt, but then made seven-straight throughout the rest of the half as his mid-range shooting was the difference in the opening 20 minutes.

His first basket tied the game at 8-8 and his fourth gave UND its first lead at 13-12 at the 11:32 mark. The Zags, who came into the game shooting better than 50 percent from the field as a team, shot only 40 percent in the first half and also turned it over 11 times.

UND pushed its lead to 41-31 with a 7-1 spurt to open the second half and would hold its largest lead of the game at 45-33 after Seales made a jumper at the 16:20 mark. The Zags provided their initial answer to the double-digit deficit, erasing the lead completely with a 13-0 run that Perkins sparked with back-to-back baskets.

Crandall had five points during a 10-3 run that pushed the lead back to 62-53 with just over six minutes to play, but UND would be held to just one field goal in that closing stretch before Crandall's game-tying triple.

Gonzaga controlled the glass with a 44-27 advantage and turned 18 offensive rebounds into 22 second-chance points.

UND will take a 13-day break from game action before opening Big Sky play against Idaho on Friday, Dec. 29.