Late three sinks Fighting Hawks, 92-91, vs. Omaha

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (UND) – Mitch Hahn nailed a three with eight seconds remaining to boost Omaha to a 92-91 comeback victory over North Dakota on Thursday evening at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

After a Cortez Seales jumper in the paint gave UND (7-10, 1-3 Summit League) a 90-89 advantage with 1:27 to play, the Fighting Hawks held the fort defensively by forcing an airballed three-point attempt to regain possession with the lead.

The hosts looked to put the game away, but a missed attempt under the hoop gave the Mavericks (9-8, 3-1 Summit League) life. Then, Hahn hit the triple from the corner to propel the visitors in front, 92-90; however, Conner Avants came up with an offensive rebound and was fouled with just 0.6 seconds on the clock for a chance to send the game into overtime. The senior nailed the first shot, but his second came up just short as Omaha escaped with a 92-91 victory.

Avants finished with a game-high 24 points, connecting on 8-of-12 from the field, while also grabbing six rebounds, recording two blocks, and a steal. The senior has now hit on 23 of his last 30 attempts over this three-game stretch, averaging 19.7 points during that span. The 24-point outburst was the most this season by a UND player this season and the fourth game with 20+ points for the Edmond, Okla., native.

Aanen Moody was hot off the bench once again for the Hawks, matching his career-high with six makes on 12 attempts from deep for 18 points. The redshirt freshman has been lethal during conference play, scoring an average of 15.8 points over those four contests. Moody has now hit a three in all 17 games this season, matching UND’s Division I record set by Aaron Anderson in 2012-13 for consecutive games with at least one make from downtown.

Cortez Seales registered his 13th contest in double figures with 16 points, six rebounds, six assists, a block, and a steal. The six assists are the most for the senior since he had seven vs. Northern Arizona last season. Kienan Walter was the final Fighting Hawk to cross the 10-point plateau with 14 for his second straight contest with at least 10 points since returning to the starting lineup.

Four Mavericks also scored in double figures, led by Matt Pile’s 20 point, 10 rebound double-double performance before fouling out in the second half. Hahn, a fellow forward, also tallied a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

UND held Omaha to 31-of-66 (47.0%) from the field while converting at a 50.0% (32-64) on the offensive end; however, the visitors outshot the Hawks from three and at the charity stripe. The Mavericks also won the rebounding battle, 42-31, as UND falls to 1-9 this season when losing the battle on the boards.

North Dakota came out hot to start the game for the second straight contest, connecting on 10 of its first 15 shots from the field to build a 26-12 advantage with 12:01 remaining in the first half. UND maintained its double-digit lead for most of the opening stanza until the Mavs started to get hot from deep and whittle the deficit down to four, 50-46, at the half.

The 50-point outburst by UND is the most in a half since the season-opening trouncing over Northland College on Nov. 6 and the most against a DI opponent this year.

Omaha kept looking to charge back, but the Hawks were going shot-for-shot with the visitors to extend the lead to as high as eight on multiple occasions. A Marlon Stewart coast-to-coast finish after a steal brought the 1,525 fans to their feet and gave UND a 82-74 advantage with just over six minutes to play.

However, the Mavs just kept attacking as Zach Jackson hit a jumper in the paint to give the visitors its first lead of the game, 85-84, with 3:36 to play. From there, the lead changed hands six more times in what led to the thrilling finish. Hahn scored five of his team’s final seven points, including the game-winning three, to seal the road victory for Omaha.

North Dakota returns to action on Saturday afternoon with a home showdown against Western Illinois. The contest, with tipoff slated for 2 p.m., can be seen live on MidcoSN2 and FOX College Sports.

NOTES: The loss is UND’s eighth straight vs. Omaha, having not defeated the Mavericks since Jan. 2007 … UND falls to 30-5 over the last three seasons and 6-1 this year when scoring 80+ points … Furthermore, Thursday marks the first regulation loss for UND when tallying 80-or-more since the defeat vs. No. 2 Arizona in the NCAA Tournament (Mar. 2017) … The Hawks slip to 6-2 this season when four-or-more players score 10+ points … Marlon Stewart’s 40-minute performance is the first since Geno Crandall played all 40 vs. Montana on Mar. 8, 2018 in the Big Sky Conference Tournament Quarterfinals.