North Dakota State Hosts Morehead State Friday in Final Tune-Up Before League Play
Release: December 18, 2012
THIS WEEK: The North Dakota State men's basketball team goes for its 10th victory of the season Friday, Dec. 21, when the Bison (9-3) host Morehead State (5-5) at 7 p.m. at the Bison Sports Arena (5,830) in Fargo. The Eagles play at South Dakota on Wednesday night.
WATCH: Live video of Friday's game will be available to NDSU All Access subscribers on GoBison.com. Prices are $9.95 for a monthly subscription, $29.95 for four months, and $79.95 annually. Live stats are available on GoBison.com free of charge and also through the NDSU Bison mobile app for Android, iPhone and iPod Touch.
LISTEN: KFGO-AM 790 of Fargo and Bison Radio Network affiliate KLTC-AM 1460 in Dickinson will carry Friday's game live with Scott Miller calling the play-by-play. Coverage includes 20-minute pregame and postgame shows. Live audio streaming will be on GoBison.com and the NDSU Bison mobile app for Android, iPhone and iPod Touch.
THE SERIES: This is the second meeting all-time between North Dakota State and Morehead State. NDSU won 69-57 in Morehead on Dec. 5. Taylor Braun went 11-for-12 at the foul line and scored six of his game-high 23 points in the final 66 seconds to keep it a double-digit game after the Bison led by as many as 31 points midway through the second half. NDSU's Mike Felt scored nine points, Marshall Bjorklund had eight points and a season-high 11 rebounds, and Lawrence Alexander finished with eight points, four assists and five steals. Chad Posthumus had 13 points and nine rebounds off the Eagles' bench. North Dakota State is 2-0 against the Ohio Valley Conference including a 90-72 win at Tennessee Tech in November 2007 as part of the Blue Ribbon Challenge.
ABOUT MOREHEAD STATE: The Eagles snapped a three-game losing streak with a 71-63 home win over Indiana State on Dec. 8 after playing NDSU and had 10 days off for final exams. MSU is 5-5 heading into Wednesday night's game at South Dakota. Morehead State has eight players averaging at least five points per game led by Milton Chavis at 14.3 points per game. Kahlil Owens leads the team with 5.8 rebounds per game. The Eagles and their full-court pressure defense rank 10th in the nation with 10.5 steals per game. Sean Woods (Kentucky, 1992) is in his first year as head coach at Morehead State after four seasons at Mississippi Valley State where he went 50-80 and led the Delta Devils to last year's NCAA tournament.
BISON WIN THIRD ROAD GAME AT TOWSON: Mike Felt scored a game-high 16 points off the bench to lead North Dakota State to its third road win of the year 65-48 at Towson on Saturday. Chris Kading added 11 points as the NDSU bench outscored Towson 29-11. Taylor Braun finished with 10 points for the Bison, who shot 43.8 percent from the floor. NDSU's Lawrence Alexander had eight points and five assists, Marshall Bjorklund tallied eight points and eight rebounds, and TrayVonn Wright had six points, seven rebounds and a career-high four blocks. Towson (4-7) shot just 33.9 percent as a team. Mike Burwell led the Tigers with 14 points and Bilal Dixon had 11 rebounds. NDSU held 6-foot-8 forward Jerrelle Benimon, who averages a double-double, to just six points and five rebounds.
WRIGHT CRACKS TOP FIVE IN CAREER BLOCKS: North Dakota State junior TrayVonn Wright tied a career-high with four blocks at Towson to pass Lucas Moormann (80) and move into a tie with Lance Berwald for fourth place in the NDSU record book with 81 career blocks.
NDSU Career Blocks, top five
1. Jason Wenschlag, 220 (1989-93)
2. Joe Regnier, 146 (1985-89)
3. Jeff Giersch, 89 (1980-82)
4. TrayVonn Wright, 81 (2010-present)
Lance Berwald, 81 (1982-84)
BRAUN TWO-TIME SUMMIT PLAYER OF THE WEEK: North Dakota State's Taylor Braun was named Summit League Player of the Week by the league office for the second time in three weeks Dec. 10. Braun averaged 22.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in a pair of victories. He made 11 of 12 free throws and scored a game-high 23 points at Morehead State, and he led the Bison with 22 points and a career-high five steals against North Dakota. He earned his first career award Nov. 26 after averaging 11.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists over four games and being named MVP of the Progressive Legends Classic Pittsburgh Subregional.
BRAUN TIES 3-POINT RECORD: Taylor Braun tied a school record with seven 3-pointers made in the 95-51 win over Omaha on Nov. 29. Braun had 26 points and nine rebounds in the game and NDSU finished one shy of its team record making 15 of 25 shots from behind the arc. Braun tied the mark held by several players including Mike Felt, who made seven against Centenary in January 2011.
BISON BLOCKING SHOTS AT RECORD PACE: Already more than halfway to last year's season total of 108, North Dakota State has blocked 65 shots in 12 games. NDSU's average of 5.4 blocks per game ranked 24th nationally through Sunday and is on pace to break the school record of 5.0 bpg set in 1991-92. NDSU has blocked at least four shots in 11 of 12 games with a season-low of three blocks at Green Bay and a season-high nine blocks at Morehead State.
BJORKLUND AMONG SHOOTING LEADERS: North Dakota State forward Marshall Bjorklund does not have enough field goal attempts this season to qualify for the official NCAA Division I statistics, but Bjorklund's .640 shooting percentage ranked 19th among all players nationally through Sunday.
SCORING DEFENSE: North Dakota State ranked 30th nationally through Sunday allowing just 57.8 points per game, which would be the best scoring defense in school history dating back to 1950-51. The Duquesne and James Madison games marked the first back-to-back 40-point efforts by the NDSU defense since 1990-91 when the Bison did it against North Dakota (L, 28-49) and Omaha (W, 65-48). NDSU has held five opponents under 50 points and prior to this year had done that just seven times in eight seasons of Division I basketball.
NCAA STATS: North Dakota State ranked among the top 50
nationally in eight categories in the fourth NCAA statistics report through
Sunday, Dec. 16. Individually, Mike
Felt ranked 35th in 3-point shooting percentage (.429) and 49th in
3-pointers made per game (2.75).
NDSU in the NCAA Stats, all games through Dec. 16
12th - total points (850)
19th - FG shooting defense (.368)
24th - blocked shots per game (5.4)
30th - scoring defense (57.8)
31st - 3-point shooting (.389)
37th - FT shooting (.750)
41st - scoring margin (+13.1)
43rd - fewest turnovers per game (12.0)
BRAUN MVP, WRIGHT ALL-TOURNAMENT: North Dakota State's Taylor Braun was named Most Valuable Player and TrayVonn Wright was named to the all-tournament team at the Progressive Legends Classic subregional. Braun averaged 14.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists in NDSU's 3-0 run through the tournament. Wright averaged 12.3 points and 7.3 rebounds. Eleven of his 22 rebounds were on the offensive glass.
BISON WIN ANOTHER TOURNAMENT: Non-conference tournaments have been a success for the Bison in recent years. North Dakota State won the Pittsburgh Subregional of the Progressive Legends Classic with wins Nov. 19-21 over Youngstown State, Duquesne and James Madison. NDSU went 3-0 last year at the University of San Francisco's Hilltop Challenge and 2-1 in the Basketball Travelers Invitational at Oregon two years ago. NDSU has a 17-6 record in non-conference tournaments since 2005-06 including championships at Montana State (Dec. 2005), Marquette (Dec. 2006) and San Francisco (Nov. 2011).
BISON 25th IN MID-MAJOR POLL: North Dakota State was ranked 25th for the second straight week in the fourth CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 released Monday, Dec. 17. NDSU received votes in the first two polls but had not been ranked since checking in at No. 24 for one week after last year's 6-0 start.
BRAUN ON PACE FOR 1,000: North Dakota State junior Taylor Braun enters the Morehead State game with 901 career points and is on pace to become the 28th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point mark. Braun is averaging 12.5 points over 72 career games.
BISON PICKED SECOND IN SUMMIT LEAGUE: North Dakota State was picked to finish second out of nine teams in The Summit League according to a preseason poll of the league's head coaches, sports information directors and media. Defending Summit League tournament champion South Dakota State (27-8 overall, 15-3 league) was the unanimous pick to win the league title with all 30 available first-place votes and 390 points. North Dakota State had 321 points and got SDSU's vote for first place, Oakland was third with 310 points and Western Illinois fourth with 274 points. IUPUI edged Fort Wayne by two points for fifth place. Kansas City, South Dakota and league newcomer Omaha filled out the seventh, eighth and ninth spots in order. NDSU had three players named to the preseason all-league teams. Junior guard Taylor Braun was voted to the first team and junior forward Marshall Bjorklund and sophomore guard Lawrence Alexander landed on the second team.
SECOND POSTSEASON APPEARANCE: Last year's College Basketball Invitational presented by Zebra Pen was NDSU's second postseason appearance since beginning Division I play in 2004-05 and the first since the 2009 NCAA tournament when the Bison won the Summit League tournament and lost to No. 3 seed Kansas 84-74 in the first round of the Midwest Region. NDSU's first year of postseason eligibility was 2009 after a five-year reclassification from Division II that left the Bison out of the playoffs from 2005 through 2008.
STATISTICAL LEADERS: North Dakota State's scoring defense of 68.4 points allowed per game last year ranked fifth overall in The Summit League but was the 12th best mark in school history over a span of 62 seasons dating back to 1950-51. NDSU led the league in field goal percentage defense at .434 and field goal shooting at .488, which ranked seventh nationally. Junior guard Mike Felt ranked 14th nationally in 3-point percentage at .431.
PHILLIPS TIES SKAAR FOR SIXTH ON WINS LIST: Saul
Phillips is in his sixth season as head coach at North Dakota State and is
tied with Marv Skaar for sixth on the school's all-time wins list with a
93-70 record. Phillips directed NDSU to
its first Summit League championship and NCAA Division I tournament appearance
in 2009, and was one of 10 finalists for the Hugh Durham Mid-Major Coach of the
Year award. A Bison assistant for three
seasons, Phillips came to NDSU from Wisconsin, where he was director of
basketball operations for three years under Bo Ryan. He was an assistant for two seasons each at
Milwaukee and Lake Superior State and a graduate assistant at Wayne State in
Nebraska for one year.
NDSU All-Time Coaching Victories
1. Erv Inniger, 244-150, 1978-92
2. B.C. Bentson, 169-207, 1949-65
3. Bob Lowe, 141-102, 1933-46
4. Tim Miles, 99-71, 2001-07
5. Tom Billeter, 97-50, 1992-97
6. Marv Skaar, 93-69, 1972-78
Saul Phillips, 93-70, 2007-present
NDSU COACHING HISTORY: NDSU's four previous head coaches have all gone on to bigger jobs and are all still actively coaching. Tim Miles (2001-07) went to Colorado State and is now the head coach at Nebraska. Greg McDermott (2000-01) went to Northern Iowa and Iowa State, and is now the head coach at Creighton. Ray Giacoletti (1997-00) went to Eastern Washington and Utah and is currently an assistant at Gonzaga. Tom Billeter (1992-97) went to St. John's and Texas A&M as an assistant coach and is now in his 10th year as head coach at Division II Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D.
BISON IN THE PROS: Five former Bison have played professional basketball since the school began Division I play in 2004-05. Forward Andre Smith (2005-07) is playing in Russia, guard Ben Woodside (2005-09) is in Turkey, and forward Michael Tveidt (2007-11) is in Spain. Forward Brett Winkelman (2005-09) played in Italy and guard Mike Nelson (2005-09) played with the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the NBA Development League.
FIVE SUMMIT TEAMS IN POSTSEASON: A record five Summit League men's basketball teams made postseason appearances last March, eclipsing the high of three teams in 1990 and tying for third-most among mid-major leagues in 2012. South Dakota State was in the NCAA, Oral Roberts made the NIT, North Dakota State and Western Illinois were in the College Basketball Invitational, and Oakland played in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.
THE SUMMIT LEAGUE: This is North Dakota State's sixth year in The Summit League after reclassifying from Division II and spending three seasons as a Division I independent. Other members are Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI); University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC); University of Nebraska-Omaha; Oakland University in Rochester, Mich.; University of South Dakota; South Dakota State University; and Western Illinois University. The Summit League dropped from 10 teams to nine this year with the addition of Omaha from Division II and the departure of Southern Utah to the Big Sky Conference and Oral Roberts to the Southland Conference.