North Dakota State (2-3) at Santa Clara (2-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 29, 11 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Leavey Center (4,500) -- Santa Clara, California. Television: None. Home Record: North Dakota State 1-1, Santa Clara 2-0. Away Record: North Dakota State 1-2, Santa Clara 0-2. Neutral Record: North Dakota State 0-0, Santa Clara 0-0. Conference Record: North Dakota State 0-0, Santa Clara 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: Santa Clara begins its defense of the Cable Car Classic title Friday when they Broncos host the North Dakota State Bison at Leavey Center.
Rider and Rice are playing the other semifinal on Friday, with the winners squaring off on Saturday following a consolation game.
Santa Clara has won this regular season tournament two of the previous three years. The Broncos upended Wagner in the title game last year to win the tourney for the 16th time in its 46 years of existence.
Taking care of business on its home floor has been Santa Clara's calling card recently, winning nine of the last 10 games at the Leavey Center. The Broncos won their first two games in front of their home fans this season before hitting the road and falling to Cal State Fullerton and Notre Dame.
Friday's 84-69 loss in South Bend came as a result of a 42-25 discrepancy in rebounds and a 23-9 edge in free throws for the Fighting Irish. Brandon Clark tallied a game-high 21 points and also handed out six assists, while Jared Brownridge chipped in with 16 points in the setback. Brownridge and Clark have carried the load offensively thus far for Santa Clara, pouring in 19.3 and 16.8 points per game, respectively.
North Dakota State, a heavy preseason favorite to win the Summit League, has stumbled to a 2-3 record out of the gate, last losing to rival North Dakota, 95-77, on Sunday.
Taylor Braun led the Bison with 34 points in the latest setback, while Marshall Bjorklund was the only other NDSU player to score in double figures with 11 points before fouling out. Bjorklund, who will be making his 100th career start on Friday, was one of four Bison starters to foul out, and the team's 30 personal fouls led to 33 points for North Dakota.
The Bison have an experienced roster that boasts several capable scorers despite losing Dexter Werner to a knee injury. Braun paces the club with 19.6 ppg and has also handed out over four assists per outing. Bjorklund checks in with 13.4 ppg and TrayVonn follows with 11.6, while grabbing 6.2 rebounds per game.
North Dakota State has already played a member of the West Coast Conference this season, losing at Saint Mary's by 13 points. Santa Clara is a notch below Saint Mary's, but the Broncos' homecourt advantage gives them the slight edge in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Santa Clara 75, North Dakota State 68
11/29 10:54:46 ET