UND falls 84-73 to Purdue Fort Wayne in Summit League debut

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (UND Athletics) – A late charge by North Dakota in the second half brought an 18-point deficit down to just six, but Purdue Fort Wayne converted down the stretch to hold off the Fighting Hawks, 84-73, on Saturday afternoon at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

Redshirt freshman Aanen Moody poured in a career-high 21 points on six makes from distance in a game-high 35 minutes of action as the Dickinson native has now hit at least one three in all 14 contests this season. The streak is the longest since former guard Aaron Anderson drained a triple in 17 straight games in 2012-13. Moody also pulled down a career-best six rebounds, the second most on the team.

Playing in only his third game after missing the first 11 contests to focus on his academics, Marlon Stewart pieced together his finest performance of the season with his first-career double-double. Stewart scored 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting and added a game-high and career-best 10 assists for the Fighting Hawks (6-8, 0-1 Summit League). The junior becomes the fourth-different player to tally a double-double this season, matching only the 2010-11 and 2011-12 teams who have also accomplished the feat. Stewart is also the first player since Quinton Hooker on Jan. 31, 2015 vs. Idaho State to post a double-double in points and assists.

Kienan Walter was the final player to cross into double figures for the Hawks, scoring 14 points and grabbing a team-high eight rebounds off the bench. All three of UND’s players to reach the 10-point plateau on the afternoon came from the bench, as the reserves tallied 58 of the team’s 73 points.

Purdue Fort Wayne (9-7, 1-0 Summit League) finished 30-of-59 from the field for a 50.8% clip, including 8-for-24 from deep. The Hawks did a strong job defending the three-point shot in the second half as the Mastodons were only 1-of-9 from beyond-the-arc.

All five starters reached double figures for the visitors, led by Kason Harrell’s game-high 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting. Three-time Summit League First Team member John Konchar scored 18 points and secured 13 rebounds for his seventh double-double over the last eight games.

After the teams traded baskets through the opening 12 minutes, Purdue Fort Wayne used a 21-9 scoring stretch over the final eight minutes of the first half to turn a three-point contest into a 46-30 lead heading into the halftime break.

The visitors stretched its lead to 18, the highest of the game, in the first two minutes of the first half as Head Coach Brian Jones went to his bench for Ethan Igbanugo to help spark a run. UND whittled the game down to 10, 56-46, after Igbanugo drained a three and Walter converted a layup to force a timeout by the Mastodons with 12:57 to play.

Out of the timeout, Stewart drilled a triple of his own to cut the lead down to just seven, 56-49, and brought the 1,447 fans to their feet. Purdue Fort Wayne answered right back with seven straight of its own to restore a 14-point advantage with just under 10 minutes to play.

North Dakota again cut into the lead, dropping the deficit down to just six on a pair of occasions, but the Mastodons held off the Hawks by scoring 17 of the final 27 points to hold on for the 84-73 triumph.

Summit League play continues for the Fighting Hawks with a pair of road trips next week as UND will battle Oral Roberts (Thursday) and Denver (Saturday).

NOTES: UND falls to 0-3 all-time vs. Purdue Fort Wayne … Aanen Moody set a new career-high in points (21) and rebounds (6) … Marlon Stewart’s double-double is the first of his career and the fourth by a UND player this season … Saturday was UND’s first conference tilt as a member of The Summit League … Purdue Fort Wayne won the rebounding battle, 37-35 … Cortez Seales missed most of Saturday’s game with an illness … The 31 attempts from three were the most this season by UND.