Bison men’s basketball rebound from loss at Indiana State with victory over Crown College 

Bison fall to 0-4 with 101-75 loss to Indiana State –

Following a down-to-the-wire 91-86 loss to Pacific the previous Sunday, the Bison were back in action on Thursday as they made the trip to Terre Haute, I.N., in hopes of getting off the schneid and capturing their first win of the season. 

The Sycamores came out razor sharp in the first half as they soared to a 49-26 lead at the first intermission. Already with a 34-24 lead, the Sycamores erupted for a 15-2 run in the final 6:04 of the first half to stretch their lead to 23. Through the first half, the Sycamores outscored the Bison in points off turnovers 11-0 as well as points in the paint at 26-8. Adding a 56% shooting percentage and just three turnovers to that was also key for Indiana State. 

The Bison continued to struggle shooting the ball in the first half as they shot below the 40% mark for the fourth straight game. In the first twenty minutes of play, North Dakota State shot just 33% from the field while also only converting on three long balls and three free throws.   

Indiana State continued to exercise its offensive dominance in the second half scoring 52 points. Starting the half on a 14-6 run, the Sycamore lead was pushed over 30 points at 63-32. The Sycamores were led offensively by Courvoisier McCauley, who scored 30 points despite playing only 26 minutes. Also in double figures were Cooper Neese and Cameron Henry who scored 16 and 15 points respectively while each going an efficient 6-9 from the field. 

While the Bison were only able to score four points off the incredibly low three turnovers they forced for the game, they did improve their offensive output in the second half. Shooting 50% from the field along with hitting 12 shots from the charity stripe, David Richman’s offense put up an improved 49 points in the final 20 minutes of action. 

NDSU forward Andrew Morgan looks to score against Indiana State in non-conference action on Thursday in Terre Haute, Ind. Photo Credit | NDSU Athletics

Outscoring the Sycamores in the paint 22-12 in the second half, the Bison were able to pick up the slack from the lackluster 6-25 shooting from behind the arc. While no player was on the court for more than 30 minutes, players like Tajavis Miller and Andrew Morgan gave North Dakota State quality minutes. Miller scored a team-high 20 points in just 19 minutes while Morgan dropped 13 points and 9 rebounds in only 21 minutes. Despite some strong performances, it was nowhere near enough as the Bison fell to 0-4 and headed back to Fargo to take on Crown College. 

Bison get first victory of season over Crown College 76-55 –

As the Bison men’s basketball team returned home from Indiana State this weekend, they were still in search of their first win of the 2022-23 season. As the Bison welcomed the Crown College Polars to the Scheels Center, they would be without leading scorer Grant Nelson. 

“You go back to a Saturday when football played South Dakota State, he severely twisted his ankle,” Bison Head Coach David Richman said of Nelson’s injury. “He just wanted to play so bad and then he tweaked it a couple of times against Indiana State. We’ll continue to play that by ear.” 

Through the first 9:03 of the first half, the Bison raced out to a 29-9 lead highlighted by a 20-3 run following a banked three-pointer from the Polars’ Jacob Van Dam. Led offensively by Boden Skunberg, who scored 10 points during those first nine minutes, the Bison defense also held Crown College to just 3-17 from the field during that stretch. 

The media timeout might have just what the Polars needed as they proceeded to go on a 17-11 run to finish the half led by Van Dam and Seth Royston who scored eight points apiece. Following the 29-9 lead, North Dakota State shot a dreadful 4-17 from the floor the rest of the half. Taking advantage of a poor shooting stretch by NDSU, the Polars had cut their deficit down to just 40-26 at the half. 

“I think part of our defense right now is our offense or lack thereof,” Richman commented. “A part of it is our youth and immaturity. They’re excuses and we need to work to eliminate those things as we move forward.” 

Coming out of the break, the Polars went toe-to-toe with the Bison for much of the half. As the Bison continued to struggle shooting the rock, Crown College took advantage by outscoring NDSU 19-13 through the first eight minutes of play. Led by Seth Royston who scored seven early second-half points, the Polars had cut the Bison lead down to eight at 53-45.  

While the offensive parity was apparent from a statistical point of view from the first half to the second half for North Dakota State, the Bison defense started to hunker down. In the final 11:19 of the half, the Bison defense held the Polars to just 10 points and forced seven turnovers en route to a 23-10 run to close the game. 

“Really pleased to get that taste in our mouths and get a victory like that,” Richman said of his team’s first win. “Clearly there is and there needs to be a better version of ourselves out there. We’ll get back to work Tuesday.” 

Morgan and Skunberg continued to be the primary playmakers for North Dakota State as they combined for 17 second-half points on 7-12 shooting. Morgan, who recorded his first career double-double led the team along with Skunberg, who also scored a career-high 19 points, led the team with three assists. 

“The thing that doesn’t show up in the stats was Bo’s energy, his voice,” Richman stated. “That’s probably more important than anything that’s going to show up than any shot or assist or rebound.” 

Aside from a few struggles, the Bison defense was able to hold its opponent to a season-low 55 points. As Crown College shot just 34% from the field for the game, the Bison also forced 17 turnovers and won the rebounding battle over the Polars 49-37 led by Josh Streit with 10 boards. 

“Josh is a good defender for us,” Richman said of Streit. “He obviously did a great job on the glass.” 

As the Bison get their first win of the season, they will now head on the road this weekend. The Bison will be participating in the Lobo Classic played in Albuquerque, NM from November 25-27 taking on Northern Colorado, New Mexico, and Jacksonville State in the three-game tournament. The Bison will take on Northern Colorado at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, New Mexico at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday and Jacksonville State at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. You can listen to the games on the radio at 107.9 The Fox. 

“We’ve spent a lot of time together and we’re going to spend a lot more time together here in the next couple weeks,” Richman stated of the upcoming trip. “That is what it is and we need to take advantage of every opportunity that we’re together to learn and get better.” 

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