Bison hold off Purdue Fort Wayne, take No. 4 seed

Shahid saves momentum heading into postseason

Tyson Ward hit a career-high 28 points against South Dakota.

Locked in at the No. 4 seed for the Summit League Tournament, the North Dakota State men’s basketball team looked for momentum to close out the regular season. Vinnie Shahid made sure the Bison escaped Purdue Fort Wayne with a win with a last-second 3-pointer to give the Bison a 69-66 victory.

The two sides, separated by just a single game in the standings, played that way in the opening 17 minutes. Neither team was able to build more than a four-point lead in the early goings.

NDSU put together the first big run of the game at the tail end of the opening half. Cameron Hunter and Jordan Horn each connected on 3-pointers, and Sam Griesel scored four of his 10 first-half points as the Bison stretched out to a 44-33 halftime lead with a 10-0 run.

However, if there is one thing that should worry the Bison heading into the postseason, it will be losing leads in the second half. The bug bit again, but it could have been worse for the traveling Bison.

The Mastodons couldn’t muster points coming out of the break, but John Konchar got the scoring going for the home team after four minutes of scoreless play.

Jared Samuelson and Shahid hit consecutive 3-pointers to push the Bison up 57-44. That gap was all but erased four minutes later as the Mastodons’ offense hit an 11-0 run.

NDSU responded again with Samuelson sinking a 3-pointer and Tyson Ward completing a 3-point play from the foul line.

Konchar’s tip-in pulled the ‘Dons to within two. Jarred Godfrey hit two free throws with under 12 seconds remaining to tie the game.

Shahid ended the game in regulation, pulling up and making a 3-pointer from the right wing with under a second to play. The junior finished with 8 points on a balanced scoring night for the Bison. Ward led the scorers with 11, and Hunter and Griesel each finished with 10.

The Purdue Fort Wayne win was a good bounce back for the Bison following a midweek loss to South Dakota. NDSU led for a majority of the game, but the Coyotes came back to win 75-65.

The Bison jumped right out of the gate, storming to a 9-0 lead. The Coyotes chipped away at the gap and took their first lead of the night midway through the first half.

Tyree Eady hit from behind the arc, and Deng Geu and Ward each hit a pair from the charity stripe to restore the Bison’s nine-point lead.

USD got back to within a possession before the end of the half.

Tyson Ward dropped four straight points out of the break to give the Bison an eight-point lead, but that was the beginning of the end for NDSU. A 9-0 run by USD gave the Coyotes the lead. Ward responded with a 3-pointer, but then USD outscored their guests 37-20 the rest of the way.

Ward finished with a career-high 28 points on the night on 8 of 13 shooting. The junior was the only Bison to shoot over 50 percent from the field. NDSU shot just under 30 percent in the second half and 29 percent from the 3-point line the whole game.

The Bison men head into Sioux Falls for the Summit League Tournament as the No. 4 seed and will face Oral Roberts Sunday night. NDSU beat the Golden Eagles in both meetings this season.

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