Editorial: NDSU Students and Fans Show That They Still Care About The UND Rivalry

Three weeks ago I wrote that this new generation of NDSU students and fans doesn’t care about the rivalry with the school 75 miles north of campus. I challenged our university to make this a two-way rivalry again and I wanted to see if my challenge had been accepted by the alumni, students, and fans or if it had fallen on deaf ears. So Spectrum men’s basketball writer Cash Rohman and I attended the game to see what the fan attendance would be as well to watch two of the best teams in the Summit League battle it out.

Cash and I arrived at the SHAC at 11:45 and walked down to the visitor’s bench and I took my seat along the baseline. You could just tell there was a buzz in the building because of the fact that UND won the first game by two in Grand Forks and I believe that NDSU took offense to UND students storming the court and they wanted to send a message back. I haven’t felt a buzz around an athletic event for a while and it felt so refreshing to have that back. The Bison ran on the floor to an electric atmosphere and UND was welcomed with boos. 

Before the opening tip, I looked around and just thought “Wow, this is what I wanted to see”. The first half was played to a draw as they were tied at 33. The Bison lead for 13 minutes and 28 seconds of the first half to keep the fans in the game. The first ten minutes of the second half was all about momentum as UND took a six-point lead early to quiet the crowd down but then a Noah Fedderson dunk woke the crowd up then on the following possession Fedderson stole the ball and Damari Wheeler-Thomas laid it in on the break to cut the UND lead to two. The game remained close and Fighting Hawks head coach Path Sather was getting more and more agitated in the way his point guard, Treyson Eaglestaff was being guarded. 

UND responded by going on a 6-0 run to grab a seven-point lead at the under-eight timeout. Just over two minutes later the momentum came back NDSU’s way when Paul Sather finally said enough and got himself a technical foul. The Bison would go on an 8-0 run after that and was capped off by an Andrew Morgan three from the top of the key to grab a 62-61 lead.

NDSU would pull away late to win 73-68, after the game Cash and I  attended the press conference and when we looked at the attendance number on the stat sheet and the number blew my mind as it said “5,058”. What I saw in the SHAC on Saturday told me that NDSU students and fans still hold this rivalry in high regard and want to continue once was the greatest rivalry in Division ll athletics. Saturday was just the beginning of the Division l chapter between these two longtime rivals who hate but respect one another. If these two don’t meet in Sioux Falls during the Summit League basketball tournament then the next high-profile meeting will be on October 5th when the two schools will arguably play the most anticipated football game in the series history.

Well done Bison Nation on an outstanding turnout and I hope this was just the beginning. Full recap of the Men’s game can be found in Cash Rohman’s weekly recap article.

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