The North Dakota State men’s basketball team lost 85-71 to Kansas City on Saturday, ending their six-game winning streak.
The Bison were shorthanded in the first half as Boden Skunberg and Grant Nelson were suspended for the first half for their roles in the postgame scuffle with Oral Roberts. Head coach David Richman was also fined $5,000.
NDSU managed to take a lead into halftime as they led 39-38 thanks to a hot start shooting from the field, shooting 56 percent to go along with nine made free throws.
However, the defense struggled in the second half as the Roos scored 47 second-half points. Gilyard gave the Bison defense fits, as he dropped 33 points and seven assists in the game.
In his postgame press conference, Richman praised Kansas City for having guys that can create their own shots, “They have some talented individual scorers,” Richmann said. “I think that’s the biggest difference too, I mean they’ve got some strength, some athleticism, they get to their spots, they’re really effective and I think you saw that this afternoon.”
The Bison led 65-64 with 5:30 remaining before Kansas City went on an 8-2 run. Arkel Lamar and Evan Gilyard hit three-pointers to put the Roos up five, and they led the rest of the way.
The Roos were on fire on Saturday, as they shot 58 percent from the field and an unheard-of 71.4% from three.
Sam Griesel expressed in his postgame press conference that he thought they weren’t good enough on the defensive end, “We didn’t do a good enough job defending tonight. I mean obviously, they have some really talented players, Gilyard, you know he had a heck of a game and was hitting a lot of shots, tough shots, but we weren’t good enough on the defensive side tonight.”
Offensively, Griesel led the way for the Bison, scoring 21 points, his fourth-straight game with 20-plus points. Meanwhile, Rocky Kreuser joined him in double figures, putting up 12 points and nine rebounds.
With the loss, NDSU falls to 20-9 on the season and 12-5 in Summit League play. Additionally, they fell back into third place in the Summit League standings as Oral Roberts beat North Dakota.
Even after the loss, Griesel expressed optimism, “Where I’m at mentally, it’s just a bump in the road. Obviously, it sucks, and it hurts that we lost this game, last game in the SHAC,” Griesel said. “But you know coach’s message in the locker room was everything that we wanted at the beginning of the season is still right in front of us. So, we can’t dwell on this game, like I said obviously it sucks but we have bigger aspirations, and you know in a few weeks, so yeah, it’s just a bump in the road and we’re not done.”
Up next, the Bison will play their regular-season finale on Saturday up in Grand Forks against North Dakota.