Tucked away in half of the cavernous behemoth known as U.S. Bank Stadium, the North Dakota State men’s basketball team couldn’t keep up with the accurate shooting Drake Bulldogs. Despite 29 points from Vinnie Shahid, Drake took the 95-88 win.
The matchup was NDSU’s third consecutive loss and puts the team’s record at 2-6, tied for last in the Summit League. Simultaneously, Drake was able to move to No. 1 in the Missouri Valley Conference.
The Twin Cities showdown was entirely led by the Bulldogs, and the Bison never led on the scoreboard. However, they came close after a quick 16-3 run toward the end of the first half to make it 45-42.
The second half opened up with Drake scoring big and extending their lead to 13. They held their commanding lead up to the final media timeout when they led 90-78. Then the Bison proceeded to go on a 10-5 streak, but were unable to put down the Bulldogs.
NDSU was led by Shahid and Deng Geu. Shahid put up 29 points on 10-19 shooting, including 5-11 from downtown. Geu was able to put up 21 points along with 7 rebounds. Tyson Ward also pitched in with a personal season-high 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
Their personal efforts were not able to hold off the Bulldogs, however. Drake housed five double-digit scorers, including Nick McGlynn, who scored 23. Recent transfer Nick Norton also had a great night for the Bulldogs, pulling off a triple-double. The former UAB Blazer put up 18 points, 13 rebounds and 17 assists against the Bison defense. This set the school record for assists, and was the second triple-double in school history for Drake.
On other parts of the stat sheets, the game was close. NDSU recorded two more steals than the Bulldogs, who turned the ball over three more times than the Bison. The Bison failed to turn those turnovers into points, as both teams scored 13 points off turnovers.
Despite being minus 3 in the rebound battle, the Bison had eight more second-chance points. The kicker was NDSU shooting just 32 percent from the 3-point line compared to the 52 percent clip for Drake.
“We try to play fast, get up and down, and I did the easy part tonight,” said the Bulldog’s Norton after his outstanding game.
It seems as though the fast pace got the best of the Bison, and the team will have to prepare for that before tonight’s game as they take on Iowa State. Iowa State sits at No. 1 in the Big 12 and has had a great offense this season.
Tip-off in Ames is set for 7 p.m. Monday night.