Men’s College Basketball: Hooker claims second Big Sky Player of the Week honor of the season

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OGDEN, Utah — North Dakota senior Quinton Hooker collected his second Big Sky Player of the Week honor of the conference season league officials announced on Monday. He shared the weekly accolade with Sacramento State’s Eric Stuteville.

With his team tied for second in the Big Sky standings entering the week and facing two of the other three teams in the top four, Hooker led the Fighting Hawks to a pair of convincing victories and sole possession of second place with only five league games remaining.

In last Thursday’s 95-86 victory over Eastern Washington, Hooker scored 21 of his game-high 35 points in the first half. He finished 10-for-18 from the field, 4-for-6 from 3-point range and added five rebounds, an assist and three steals.

After seeing a 17-point, first-half lead slip down to just three in the closing minutes of the first half, Hooker answered with five straight points in the final 63 seconds to provide an eight-point cushion for the Fighting Hawks at the break.

After reigning National Player of the Week Jacob Wiley gave EWU its first lead of the game with a dunk five minutes into the second half, Hooker answered with a layup and UND never trailed again. He went 11-for-13 from the foul line and his 35 points were the second-highest output by an individual at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center since it opened prior to the 2004-05 season.

In last Saturday’s 88-65 win over Idaho, Hooker finished with 21 points, four rebounds and three assists in a game the Fighting Hawks entered just a game ahead of the Vandals in the league standings. UND improved to 10-1 at home this season and have won 12 straight Big Sky home games dating back to last season. Hooker went 7-for-13 from the field, 3-for-6 from beyond the arc and made all four of his free throw attempts in the win over Idaho and the 20-plus point outing for Hooker was his 12th of the season and 32nd of his career.

Hooker finished the week averaging 28.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.0 apg and 2.0 spg. He was an efficient 54.8 percent from the field (17-for-31), 58.3 percent from 3-point range (7-for-12) and 88.2 percent from the charity stripe (15-for-17). The Big Sky Preseason Player of the Year is shooting over 50 percent from the arc in Big Sky play (52.2; 3rd) and is second among league free throws shooters (90.5; 57-for-63).

Hooker now has four Big Sky weekly honors in his career. Stuteville had a pair of double-doubles for the Hornets in home wins over Weber State and Idaho State, averaging 20.0 ppg and 13.0 rpg in those victories.

UND returns to the road to open a three-game Big Sky swing that starts Thursday at Idaho State. Tip-off against the Bengals is set for 8:05 p.m. CT.

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