A gritty performance including blood, sweat and most likely tears Saturday at Scheels Arena proved fruitful as the North Dakota State men’s basketball team beat Indiana University Purdue University of Indianapolis 63-59.
Two seniors, Chris Kading and Kory Brown, played their final home game as Bison student-athletes in front of 3,812 fans.
After the game Brown said his favorite moment as a Bison wasn’t an on-the-court moment.
“Every time I put on this uniform,” Brown said of his favorite memory. “I’d say most of (my memories) are off the court, just being with guys who’ve been here and are here now. We always found a way to have fun, so I couldn’t say there’s one special moment if there is one.
“It’s walking on to this campus.”
Brown recorded a double-double on the day with 14 points and 12 rebounds, five of which were offensive rebounds, while Kading chipped in two points.
“(Brown) just does what he’s asked to do,” head coach Dave Richman said.
Sophomore A.J. Jacobson lead all Bison scorers with 17 points in 38 minutes of play and made two free throws down the stretch to secure the Bison win.
It was a close game throughout the first half; Brown made a layup to go up 14-9 with 10:38 before halftime to give the Bison its largest lead of the half.
NDSU built its largest lead with 8:50 left in the game when Brown hit a layup and a free throw to put the Bison up 53-38.
But the Jaguars responded with a 12-0 run after a few buckets from junior guard Darell Combs and freshman forward Evan Hall, and IUPUI trailed 53-50 with 5:05 left in the game.
With 1:29 left, Combs nailed a jumper to get the Jaguars back within two points, 58-56.
Dexter Werner missed a pair of free throws, but Carlin Dupree backed the big man up and sunk two of his 12 points from the charity stripe with :04 left to give the Bison its 18th win of the season.
“I thought (Dupree) in the second half was pretty good, pretty special and for him to rise up and make those free throws when we needed them,” Richman said.
Free throws were in the Bison’s favor, getting to the line 27 times while IUPUI went 90 percent from the stripe but only got there 10 times.
Sophomore guard Paul Miller didn’t play in his fifth straight game but Richman said he’s getting closer to being back on the court.
“Paul’s close; he’s really close,” Richman said about Miller’s lower body injury. “(He) practiced a little bit this week, and I would anticipate him sometime this week hopefully getting back out there.”
The Bison will lace the shoes up Thursday at South Dakota State, and on Saturday, NDSU will face University of Denver in the season finale.