BIG SKY TOURNAMENT: North Dakota survives, beats Sac State

Thursday , March 13, 2014 - 5:57 PM

Roy Burton, Standard-Examiner Staff

No. 2 North Dakota 79, No. 7 Sacramento State 76: North Dakota dodged not one bullet but four or five as it held off the Hornets late.

Trailing by a basket, Sac State missed four times in one extended possession in the final minute before UND controlled the ball and made 5 of its final 6 free throws at the end to hang on and advance to Friday’s semifinal.

“We had a bunch of chances and didn’t capitalize,” Hornets guard Mikh McKinney said. “Our guys hustled for the ball, got the rebounds and got us good shots, we just didn’t knock them down.”

UND couldn’t dodge one bullet.

McKinney scored a game-high 24 points but missed a 3 with a chance to tie in the final seconds. Dreon Bartlett put it back to bring Sac State within 77-76 and McKinney dove to foul UND’s Josh Schuler to stop the clock with 0.9 seconds, tripping Schuler and injuring his leg, which will be evaluated before determining if he will be able to play Friday.

Aaron Anderson hit two free throws for a 3-point advantage and Sac State’s long inbounds pass was deflected to Troy Huff, who punched it high in the air as time expired.

Huff led UND with 18 points, Anderson had 16 and Schuler and Alonzo Traylor each scored 11.

Dylan Garrity had 18 and Cody Demps added 15 for Sacramento State, which qualified for the Big Sky tourney for the first time since 2006.

“We were not playing winning basketball in the first half,” UND coach Brian Jones said, but in the end, “We were able to get some timely shots but they also had some timely missed in the paint that just rolled out and we were able to get the rebound.”

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