GAME NOTES: The first-ever meeting between the North Dakota State Bison and the Youngstown State Penguins takes place on Monday afternoon in Pittsburgh, as the teams play in regional action of the Legends Classic.
In the case of the Penguins, a team which operates as member of the Horizon League, they are off to a fast start in 2012-13 with three wins in as many chances. The squad posted an 80-73 victory against George Washington on the road in the opener and then followed that up with a surprising 68-56 triumph versus Georgia and then a 75-60 romp over St. Francis-PA last Friday.
Meanwhile, the Bison are off to a 2-1 start, but outside of their loss to top- ranked Indiana in Bloomington last Monday, the team has had an easy go of it thus far. Following the 87-61 setback to the Hoosiers, North Dakota State rebounded by crushing Mayville State, 73-40, at home in Fargo on Saturday.
Both of these teams will be back in action again tomorrow and on Wednesday as they continue the tourney against Duquesne and James Madison, with all four teams facing off against each other.
YSU trailed Saint Francis by four points in the first half of their meeting last week, but in the second half the Penguins surged ahead by double digits and never looked back thanks to 60.7 percent shooting from the floor in the final 20 minutes of action. All five starters scored in double figures for the Penguins, beginning with Kendrick Perry who dropped in 19 points and also pulled down seven rebounds to lead the program in that department as well. Blake Allen's 6-of-10 showing beyond the arc accounted for all 18 of his points, Damian Eargle added 12 points, followed by Kamren Belin and Shawn Amiker who both tallied 11 points in the triumph. Through three games this team is shooting a solid 40 percent behind the three-point line, much more accurate than the competition (12-of-41). Allen (14.7 ppg) has had a lot to do with that perimeter success with 11-of-24 shots dropping through from beyond the arc.
Beating up on Mayville State should have been expected since the team is from the NAIA and recognized the meeting with North Dakota State as nothing more than an exhibition. The visitors started out with just six field goals in the first half on 21 attempts and matched that output in the second on 18 tries from the floor, all while the NDSU defense was forcing 20 turnovers. Taylor Braun led all scorers for the hosts with 16 points, followed by reserves Mike Felt and Chris Kading who dropped in 15 points each for the Bison. Felt is a huge asset for the Bison coming off the bench as he leads the team in scoring overall with 16.3 ppg, thanks mostly to his steady hand on the perimeter (12- of-23, .522). As a whole, North Dakota State has made good on just 37.3 percent out on the perimeter, yet that is still better than the competition which has averaged out at 28.1 percent accuracy.
The Bison have been tossed a few softballs in the early going, but YSU is no such opponent, something North Dakota State will find out soon enough.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Youngstown State 67, North Dakota State 58
11/19 10:32:44 ET
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