Bison take two at Islander Invitational
Following a Power-5 loss, the North Dakota State men’s basketball team has righted the ship to start the still young season.
In the first busy stretch of the season, NDSU continued to move in the positive direction at the Islander Invitational in Corpus Christi, Texas. With three games in three days, the Bison took the first two games of the weekend.
The Bison opened the weekend slate with a win against UT Rio Grande Valley, 76-70.
It was the deep shooting ability that separated the Bison and the Vaqueros. The Bison shot 41 percent from three compared to 37 percent for UTRGV.
Jared Samuelson lead the Bison barrage of threes, shooting 5-9 from the floor with all shots being from behind the arc. His 15 points were a team high on the evening.
It was a nip-and-tuck first half with a handful of lead changes. NDSU held the advantage for most the first 20 minutes, leading by as much as five midways through the half following a three-pointer from Maleeck Harden-Hines.
UTRGV took a one-point lead into the half, but the lead was short-lived. Rocky Kreuser and Samuelson knocked down consecutive threes as the Bison retook the lead.
The lead quickly grew to 10 points following a three from Tyree Eady. NDSU converted threes above a 50 percent clip in the second half.
Tyson Ward converted the old-fashioned three-point play to give the Bison the largest lead of the night at 11.
UTRGV chipped away at the lead until Samuelson and Vinnie Shahid hit back-to-back threes to put the game out of reach with five minutes remaining.
The Vaqueros wouldn’t go away, but NDSU used 78 percent shooting from the free-throw line to stay out of reach and claim their third straight win.
Samuelson was joined in double-digit scoring by Shahid with 12 points and Ward, who came a rebound short of a double-double after registering 11 points.
NDSU pushed the winning streak to four on Saturday, taking down the hosts Texas A&M- Corpus Cristi, 57-45.
Points were at a premium early, with a total of 21 points scored in the first 10 minutes of the game. Kreuser hit a three shortly after the halfway point of the first half to give the Bison a 15-9 lead.
Shahid hit a jumper to balloon the lead to 10 with six minutes to play in the half, but AMCC closed the gap to four at the break.
Three pointers from Krueser and Cameron Hunter followed by a Chris Quayle lay-up pushed the lead to a game-high 13 points.
The lead hovered around the 10-point range for the rest of the day as the Bison defense shut down the AMCC offense. NDSU held their opponents to just 33 percent shooting and forced 16 turnovers.
The win pushed NDSU to 4-1 and was the 100th win of David Richman’s tenure. Richman was the second-fastest men’s basketball coach to reach the century mark.
The Bison closed out the Islander Invitational Sunday afternoon against Stony Brook. NDSU return home to face Utah Valley at the SHAC next Saturday at 7 p.m.