While winter break brought an end to classes, it didn’t bring an end to basketball. Over the break, the North Dakota State men’s basketball team played seven games. The Herd went 4-3 over the break and began Summit League play with a game against South Dakota with two other conference matchups.
During their first game of the break, the Bison took on Missouri State on Dec. 15 at the Scheels Center. NDSU pulled off a 74-67 victory over the Bears. Bison junior Vinnie Shahid scored 19 points, shooting 88 percent from the free throw line. Jared Samuelson added 10 points, aided by going 3-4 from behind the arc.
For their next game, the team traveled to Missoula, Montana to take on the Montana Grizzlies. The Bison lost the road game 60-53. The Grizzlies were led by Jamar Akoh, who scored 17 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. This was too much for NDSU’s lead scorer, Tyson Ward, who scored two of the Herd’s four 3-pointers. Overall on the night, the Bison only put through 22 percent of their 3-point attempts and made 40 percent of their field goals. It was the 19th straight home win for the Grizzlies, which is currently the longest streak in the nation.
NDSU’s third game was back at home in the Scheels Center against Northland College. The Bison charged past the LumberJacks in a booming 90-43 win. Rocky Kreuser and Deng Geu both had 16 points on the night, and Geu made it a double-double with 13 rebounds. The Bison held Northland to 25 percent shooting from the field and 15 percent from 3-point range. For the D-III school, it was just an exhibition game, and the final score line reflects that.
For game four, the Herd were scheduled to take on South Dakota in the opener of the Summit League. The Dec. 28 game was postponed to Dec. 29 due to weather. When game time came at noon that day, NDSU secured the win, beating the Coyotes 71-65 to start their Summit League record at 1-0.
While Coyotes player Stanley Umude recorded a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, it was not enough to stop NDSU’s great team effort. Both Geu and Ward scored big with 20 and 17, respectively. Three other NDSU players went over 6 points, and Shahid had 7 rebounds.
NDSU trailed 37-28 after the break, but posted 43 points in the second half. Runs of eight and seven in the second half sprung the Bison to the win.
Purdue Fort Wayne
In the final game of 2018, the Bison stayed at home to take on Purdue Fort Wayne. The Bison lost 90-87 and left their Summit League record at 1-1.
NDSU held a solid 46-34 lead at half before the Mastodons put up 49 points in the second half. Overtime beckoned, and Purdue Fort Wayne’s John Konchar hit the game winning 3-pointer with a second left to lift the Dons.
The Bison had five players score double-digits, led by Samuelson with 17 on a season-high five 3-pointers.
In their first game of the new year, NDSU continued league play in a crushing defeat against the Omaha Mavericks. The Bison lost 90-77, putting their record at 1-2 in the Summit League and 6-10 overall. The game was Omaha’s second Summit win of the season and put them at an even 8-8 overall record.
The Mavs were led by Mitch Han and Matt Pile, who had 39 points between the two of them, and another three players each scored over 10. While the Bison didn’t match the Mavs in points, they were able to make 50 percent of their 3-point attempts.
The last game of break also constituted the Bison’s non-conference game. The Jan. 6 game saw another big win for the Herd, as they took on the Dickinson State Blue Hawks. NDSU beat the fellow North Dakotan team 85-53. The Bison had reason to celebrate, as all 11 players scored points.
As classes start back up, men’s basketball will continue at NDSU. The Summit League play will continue against Western Illinois this Thursday, Jan. 10 at the Scheels Center.