NDSU Men’s basketball start season strong

NDSU Men’s basketball was picked to finish 3rd in the Summit League but those who didn’t pick them to finish first might have to reevaluate their thinking. NDSU has started the season 2-1 with a very impressive road win at Mid-American Conference foe Western Michigan and a good fight against 8th ranked Creighton.

In these first three games, Boden Skunberg has as expected become the #1 option offense since the departure of Grant Nelson. Skunberg has been averaging 15 points a game while Andrew Morgan and Jacari White have chipped in 10 points a game. The Bison are averaging 77 points a game so far this season; they are shooting 43% from the field and 38% from the three. 

On the defensive end, Andrew Morgan has been the anchor as he pulls down about six boards a game but community college transfer Jeremiah Burke has been everywhere and he also averages six rebounds a game, none bigger than one against Western Michigan. The end of the Western Michigan game was as good of a game as you will see in college basketball when NDSU was down two and looking for a winning basket. Boden Skunberg shot a three and missed but Burke tapped it back in at the horn to tie the game and NDSU went on to win in overtime. Burke has been a great addition to this team with his shooting, rebounding, and defense skills.

Damari Wheeler-Thomas has continued to flourish in his role as a true point guard. He leads the team in assists with 3.5 per game. He is a great passer, shot the ball, shot 48% from the field, and 40% from downtown. 

NDSU in their three games this season has shed the label of “Baby Bison” and are now becoming more of an adult team as in the game against Western Michigan they fell behind by as much as 12 points but chipped away and forced the game to overtime. Teams that have veteran leadership and can stay calm under pressure are the ones that flourish in crunch time.

This week NDSU heads to Missoula, Montana for two games against Big Sky conference schools in UC Davis and Montana. The Bison then return to the Scheels Center inside the Sanford Health Athletic Complex on November 20th as they face the Wisconsin-Stout Blue Devils.

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