Nebraska Omaha (10-6) at North Dakota State (12-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 16, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Bison Sports Arena (5,830) -- Fargo, North Dakota. Television: MeTV. Home Record: Nebraska Omaha 6-0, NDSU 5-1. Away Record: Nebraska Omaha 4-6, NDSU 6-4. Neutral Record: Nebraska Omaha 0-0, NDSU 1-0. Conference Record: Nebraska Omaha 0-1, NDSU 1-1. Series Record: North Dakota State leads, 36-27.
GAME NOTES: The North Dakota State Bison boast the Summit League's top scorer, and they will be in action on Thursday night as they entertain the Nebraska Omaha Mavericks at Bison Sports Arena.
Omaha is playing the fourth leg of a five-game road trip, which finishes on Saturday against South Dakota State. The Mavericks have gone 1-2 in the first three stops, with tight losses to Hawaii (77-73) and Western Illinois (79-72 (OT)), following a 104-88 rout of Central Arkansas. They are now 10-6 overall, including a 4-6 mark away from home.
NDSU got itself into the win column for the fifth time in six games last Saturday by posting an 87-64 rout of IUPUI on the road. The win improved the Bison's overall record to 12-5, and earned them their first victory against a Summit League foe this season. They will also be hosting an event on Saturday, as Western Illinois comes to town.
Last season, NDSU overpowered Omaha in two bouts with a 95-51 triumph at home and an 84-57 victory on the road. The Bison lead the all-time series, 36-27.
Omaha led by as many as 12 points in the second half against Western Illinois, but it let the Leathernecks shoot 60.7 percent from the floor in the period to force overtime. The wheels came off completely in the extra session, as the Mavericks were outscored 12-0 from the free-throw line to surrender the decision.
Despite the loss, the Mavericks are still one of the better offensive teams in the Summit League. They actually lead the conference in scoring (83.4 ppg) and assists (16.6 apg), as well as rebounds (35.8 rpg), while shooting 45.5 percent from the field. John Karhoff (14.4 ppg) and CJ Carter (14.1 ppg, 3.4 apg) form the combination that makes the Mavericks click, ranking eighth and ninth, respectively, in the conference in scoring. Karhoff poured in 25 points last time out, but Carter had only seven points on 2-of-16 from the field. Devin Patterson (21.1 ppg) provides added scoring depth.
TrayVonn Wright sank 10-of-14 shots from the floor and finished with a game- high 24 points to lead five players in double figures for NDSU in its win over IUPUI. The Bison shot 50.8 percent from the field, including an 8-of-14 showing from beyond the arc.
The Bison should be able to keep pace with the Mavericks on offense as they rank second in the league in scoring (79.7 ppg), while topping all teams in the country in field goal percentage (.515). Taylor Braun (18.5 ppg) is the major reason for the Bison's success, as he is scoring more than any player in the conference. Braun gets plenty of help though, with three others averaging in double figures. Marshall Bjorklund (15.1 ppg) is the next option, shooting a league-best 66.7 percent from the floor. Wright (11.5 ppg) and Lawrence Alexander (10.2 ppg) are strong complementary pieces.
When Omaha is at its best it can run past teams with its quick scoring. That strategy will fall flat against a NDSU squad that can keep up and has the benefit of playing in front of the hometown faithful.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Dakota State 81, Nebraska Omaha 75
01/16 11:18:04 ET