In the first regular season game in the Scheels Center, the North Dakota State Men’s Basketball got off to a winning start. A late comeback led the Bison to a 76-66 victory over Arkansas State.
The Veteran’s Day crowd saw a slow start for the Herd. The Red Wolves jumped out of the gates quickly. A 13-0 run but Arkansas State up by double digits before the first ten minutes had been played. NDSU had three missed field goals and a trio of turnovers as well.
Paul Miller would finally end the scoreless drought with a driving lay-up and adding the ensuing free throw.
The old-fashioned three-point play kept the Bison within striking distance early. On four different occasions a Bison shooter made a shot while fouled and made the following free throw in the opening half.
Towards the end of the first half, the Bison started firing. A 24-6 run gave the Bison a 40-34 edge going into the locker room. During that run, the Bison saw their only three-point shot fall, courtesy of AJ Jacobson.
The defense for the Bison began to show up at the same time. Dexter Werner had a pair of blocks for the Bison. Miller had one defensive possession where he tipped two passes out of bounds, leading to a shot-clock violation by the Red Wolves.
The second half started with a bit of flair from NDSU. Sophomore Khy Kabellis drove down the lane before dishing the pass behind his back to Werner who finished with the dunk.
A quick eight-point run by Arkansas State saw the score even again. It could have been worse for the Bison who turned the ball over four times in just over two minutes. AJ Jacobson would get a pair of blocks in that span to keep the Red Wolves from scoring.
That would cue up another big Bison run. This time, there was 19 unanswered points to seemingly put the game out of reach. Miller added another old-fashioned three as the Bison extended the lead. It was one point at a time, as the Bison did their damage from the charity stripe.
NDSU went to the line 42 times and knocked down 29 free throws. Good free throw shooting toward the tail end of the game meant Arkansas State could never get back into the game.
At the end of the night, Miller led the Bison with 23 points. Werner had 16 points along with five rebounds. Jacobson finished with a colorful score line of 12 points, nine rebounds, four steals and three blocks. That was from a player struggling with a thumb injury.
Head coach David Richman praised the junior.
“I am so proud of AJ Jacobson, he has practiced just six or seven times in the last two months,” Richman said. “He is just a warrior.”
The Bison returned to action Sunday afternoon against Minnesota-Morris. They will now head out to the High Point Tournament in North Carolina before coming back home on Nov. 22, hosting Waldorf.