GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Junior Cortez Seales led a balanced-scoring attack for North Dakota as the Fighting Hawks continued their dominance of Idaho State with an 81-58 victory Thursday in Big Sky play at The Betty. It was the 11th-straight win in the series for UND (5-11, 1-3 BSC), who also snapped an eight-game losing streak.
Seales scored 14 points with eight of those coming early in the second half when UND would pushed what was an 12-point halftime advantage to as many as 24 after the break. The Bengals (8-6, 3-1 BSC), who came in as winners of eight of their last nine, could never find a rhythm on the offensive end.
"I thought we set the tone with our defense. The guys were flying around, making multiple-effort plays and it was multiple guys doing it," UND head coach Brian Jones said. "It jump-started our offense. We did an unbelievable job of sharing the ball. That was the team that I know these guys can be when they are committed and focused."
Seales was key on both ends of the floor as he added five assists and a season-high seven rebounds, while holding ISU's leading scorer Jared Stutzman to just seven points.
All five of his assists came in the first half when UND's defense helped break open a tight contest. ISU's Balint Mocsan tied the score at 23-23 with a 3-pointer, but the Bengals would make just one more field goal over the remaining 9:26 of the half.
UND forced seven of the visitors' 12 first-half turnovers during that closing stretch and took a 41-29 lead at the break.
Junior Conner Avants scored 12 of his 13 points in the first half, which were a season-high in Big Sky play, while senior Dale Jones added all of 11 of his in those opening 20 minutes as well.
With the Bengals figuring out how to slow down that duo, sophomore Marlon Stewart scored nine of his 13 points after halftime to pace the Fighting Hawks in that stanza.
Junior Geno Crandall, sophomore Billy Brown and freshman Tray Buchanan each added nine points for UND, who had seven players with at least that many points.
Brown had his best game in a UND uniform, adding a career-high four assists to go with three steals. It was also the first time that Brown hit a trio of 3-pointers in a game.
UND finished a season-best 10-for-21 from distance and also outrebounded the Bengals 35-31. Jones led those efforts with eight boards, while Crandall and Seales added seven a piece.
The Fighting Hawks' 53 percent clip from the floor was their best against a Division I opponent, while the Bengals were the first DI team the squad held below 70 points this season.
The Fighting Hawks return to action at The Betty on Saturday against Weber State. Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m. CT.
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UND returns to The Betty on Saturday for a 2 p.m tip-off against Weber State.
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