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Lance Iversen, AP
North Dakota guard Geno Crandall (0) drives the ball up court against Weber State during the first half an NCAA college basketball game in the finals of the Big Sky tournament in Reno. Nev., Saturday, March 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Lance Iversen)

RENO, Nev. — North Dakota senior guard Quenton Hooker remembers how tough it was to lose to Weber State as a freshman in the 2012 Big Sky Conference Tournament.

He also remembers it as a sophomore and as a junior.

"Ever since my freshman year, they've always been the team to knock us out," Hooker said. "I remember seeing them celebrate in their home gym. I remember leaving and thinking, 'I want that. We want that. This program deserves that.' It took some ups and downs. but to do that (win the championship), it really is special."

Top-seeded North Dakota beat Weber State 93-89 in overtime night to win the Big Sky Conference Tournament championship and get the program's first NCAA Tournament berth.

Since joining the Big Sky in 2012, North Dakota (22-9) has had its chances to win the tournament and make the NCAA Tournament, but Weber State (19-13) always stood in the way.

North Dakota rallied with a 20-9 run to force overtime after falling behind 72-61 with 7:26 left.

Geno Crandall's layup with 7 seconds tied the game at 81.

In the extra period, Crandall and Hooker combined for 10 of North Dakota's 12 points.

"They've knocked us out of this tournament every year, so it's just a day for us to exercise our demons," North Dakota coach Brian Jones said.

Center Conner Avants added 13 points on 6-of-14 shooting, and Corey Baldwin scored 10 points. Jeremy Senglin led the third-seeded Wildcats with 26 points. Kyndahl Hill added 21 points and 12 rebounds.

"It's exciting," Weber State coach Randy Rahe said. "It's what you play for. You play all season to try to get there (the championship game). We've won our share. We've lost our share. If you get there enough times, you're not going to win them all."

Senglin passed Bruce Collins (1976-1980) for the most points in Weber State history (2,030).


• Senglin became Weber States all-time leading scorer with a 3-pointer five minutes into the second half, passing Bruce Collins. It was a part of a 10-0 run that gave Weber State the lead.

• North Dakota has never been to the NCAA tournament.

• Weber States Kyndal Hill matched his career high of 21 points.

Records: Weber State 19-13; North Dakota 22-9


Weber State: Senglin had 26 points (including 12 of 13 from the FT line), 9 rebounds and 2 assists.

North Dakota: Quinton Hooker scored 27 points and dished out 5 assists.

Up next

NCAA selection show: Sunday, 3:30 p.m., CBS