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UND visits WIU for last road game

The University of North Dakota will visit Western Illinois for the last road trip of the regular season. The Fighting Hawks and Fighting Leathernecks will square off at 2 p.m. (CT) inside Western Hall on Saturday.

Series History vs. WIU

This will be the 13th meeting between North Dakota and Western Illinois, with the Fighting Hawks holding a 7-5 edge in the series. UND is currently 5-2 over WIU since joining the Summit League in 2018-19. 

Earlier this season, Western Illinois escaped the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center with a 73-68 victory on Jan. 13. The Fighting Leathernecks held off a second-half surge that saw the Fighting Hawks erase a 16-point deficit late. North Dakota made it a one possession game with under a minute remaining, but two turnovers in the final minute proved costly as UND fell 73-68 to WIU.

Matt Norman led North Dakota in that game with a career-high 27 points, netting 20 points in the second half alone on 10-of-15 shooting. Bentiu Panoam was the next-best scorer for UND with a season-high 18 points. Tsotne Tsartsidze led the Hawks on the glass with a career-high 13 boards to go with a team-leading three assists.

Will Carius was the top scorer for Western Illinois, knocking down nine shots (six 3-pointers) for 26 points. Colton Sandage and Luke Barisic were also in double figures with 17 and 12 points, respectively.

Last Time Out

North Dakota shot 50 percent from deep (14-of-28) and held a 40-26 advantage in rebounds to defeat St. Thomas 78-70 inside Schoenecker Arena on Thursday night. The Fighting Hawks stormed out of the locker rooms with a 9-0 run after trailing 36-34 at intermission. UND never trailed in the second half after the 9-0 run put it up 43-36.

Paul Bruns recorded the second double-double of his career with a game-high 22 points and a season-best 14 rebounds to lead the squad. He also put in the final eight points for the Fighting Hawks, including a basket that ended a 10-0 St. Thomas run that trimmed the UND lead down to 70-64 with just under two minutes left in the contest. 

Matt Norman was the only other Hawk in double figures with 12 points, all coming from beyond the arc, to go with a team-high six assists.

Bruns Tracker

Freshman sensation Paul Bruns currently has a team leading 383 points this season and would need to average 14.4 points per game the final games of the regular season to become the top freshman scorer in UND history. That record is currently held by De’Sean Allen-Eikens and was set two seasons ago when Allen-Eikens netted 454 points as a freshman. In total, Bruns is 72 points away from holding that record outright.

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