Dexter Werner loves the month of March.
In his last two tournament games, he’s scored in double figures. He finished with 22 points against Gonzaga University in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament, and he had 18 points and 11 rebounds against Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis Sunday.
“It’s March, it’s exciting, it’s tournament time and it’s basically go big or go home,” Werner said about No. 5 seed NDSU’s 60-45 quarterfinal win over No. 4 seed IUPUI.
Werner sparked NDSU’s 12-0 run in the second half by scoring seven of those 12 Bison points.
The Bison were up 33-30 with 14:29 left in the second half but Werner completed a three-point play after getting fouled and making the free throw to put NDSU up 36-30. The Bismarck native made a jumper on the next Bison possession to give NDSU the 38-30 with 13:08 left to play.
“To kind of get that little run there that was really big for us when the game was really it was kind of on tipping point, and then we got those 12 straight, and that was really big for us to get that lead back,” Werner said.
The Jaguars made a little run with 9:40 left in the second half after junior forward Matt O’Leary made two free throws to help his team pull within six points. However, after an A.J. Jacobson three-pointer and two Paul Miller free throws, the Bison were back on top 46-35.
Jacobson finished with 14 points for the Bison and Miller scored 12 points on 3-of-10 shooting.
NDSU made free throws down the stretch to knock IUPUI out of the game and eventually the Summit League tournament.
In the last two minutes of the game, NDSU went 7-for-9 from the free throw line.
Neither team shot the basketball particular well. IUPUI shot 29.4 percent from the floor for the game and NDSU made 34.5 percent of its shots but head coach Dave Richman said any type of win in March is good.
“Just happy to get a win,” Richman said after the game. “This time of year it doesn’t matter what it looks like, what the percentages are. A win is a win.”
IUPUI’s leading scorer, Darnell Combs, who scored 21 points and 17 against the Bison in two regular season games this season, did not play in his team’s quarterfinal game.
“It was a violation of team rules,” Jaguars head coach Jason Gardner said about Comb’s status. “It was something that happened in Indy.”
As the Jaguars exit the tournament, NDSU survives another round and will take on No. 1 seed Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne at 6 p.m. Monday inside the Denny Sanford Premier Center.