Bears get a half-court buzzer beater to sneak by UND in OT

GREELEY, Colo. (UND Athletics) -- A gritty comeback by North Dakota falls just short after Northern Colorado hit a half-court buzzer beater in overtime to win 94-91 in Big Sky play at the Bank of Colorado Arena. It was the third-straight overtime contest between the two programs.

The Bears' heroics came from Andre Spight, who finished with 34 points. His seventh 3-pointer of the game came just after Cortez Seales had a 10-foot jumper fall off the rim. He finished with 19 points, while classmates Geno Crandall and Conner Avants added 30 and 20 points, respectively, for the Fighting Hawks (7-12, 2-5 BSC).

"I thought we got better, UND head coach Brian Jones said. "I thought our team showed a lot of grit, probably a couple of weeks ago that 11-point lead (for them) grows to 20. Our guys found a way to grind through the toughness of the game and that was a good step."

UNC led by as many as 11 points midway through the second half, but the Fighting Hawks, who won both overtime matchups a season ago with the Bears (13-7, 4-3 BSC), found away to force another extra session.

Avants tied it up at 76-76 on a baseline hook shot with just over two minutes sto play, then sent it into overtime with a putback off a missed free throw by Crandall with just four seconds left to play. He added 10 rebounds and notched his first career double-double.

Spight had six of his first nine points in overtime from the foul stripe and gave the Bears a 90-89 lead after burying all three after being fouled behind the arc.

Seales would give UND the lead back at 91-90 with a free throw in the final minute, but missed his second opportunity and Spight would do the exact same thing on UNC's next trip to square it 91-91.

Sophomore Marlon Stewart added 15 points for the visitors, but fouled out towards the end of regulation.

The Bears opened the game on an 11-2 run before the Fighting Hawks answered with the next six points and Billy Brown would cap a 13-4 run for the visitors that squared the game at 15-15.

Stewart gave UND its first lead at 24-22 with 8:20 to play on a corner 3-pointer, then gave the Fighting Hawks their largest lead of the half on an old-fashioned 3-point play that made it a 29-25 contest.

UNC would regained the lead at 30-29 on a trey by Matej Drgon, who had made only four from long distance coming into the game. He had two in the first half and his second one sparked a 16-4 run by the home team that gave them its first double-digit lead at 43-33 with 1:39 to play.

Seales would get four points down the stretch for UND to get back within single digits at 46-37 going into the break.

Spight led all scorers with 14 points in the opening half and he knocked down a pair of triples in the closing two minutes. He went 4-for-8 from deep, while the rest of the Bears were just 2-for-10 in the opening 20 minutes.

UND opened the second half on a 10-4 run to close within 50-47, but the Bears would build a double-digit lead again before the strong closing by the Fighting Hawks.

The Fighting Hawks better than 50 percent from the floor for the third-straight game, while holding the Bears to a 46.4 percent clip. The Bears held a slight 40-39 edge on the glass and the home team's bench outscored UND's 16-5.

UND remains on the road for a pair of Big Sky games next week with the first one against Eastern Washington on Thursday at 8 p.m. CT.