North Dakota rallies by Montana State in Big Sky’s 1st round

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Marlon Stewart scored a career-high 29 points with four 3-pointers, Geno Crandall added 18 points and defending Big Sky Tournament champion North Dakota rallied to beat Montana State 76-74 on Tuesday in the first round.

Montana State led for much of the game and by 19 points, 64-45, with 11:24 remaining in the second half. But UND scored the next 11 points, with seven by Stewart, and tied it at 68 after extending the run to 23-4. Stewart had 14 points during the spurt.

Dale Jones gave UND its first lead of the game, 71-70, with 2:13 to go and Crandall converted a 3-point play on a driving layup at 1:05 to tie it at 74.

After a UND timeout with 36.3 seconds left, Crandall dribbled down the clock and his blocked fade-away jumper was grabbed by Kienan Walter for a go-ahead putback. Crandall sealed it with a steal near midcourt.

Conner Avants had 10 points and nine rebounds and Walter also scored 10 for UND (12-19), which has advanced to the tournament semifinals the past six seasons. The Fighting Hawks will play top-seed Montana on Thursday.

Devonte Klines paced Montana State (13-19) with 16 points.

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