North Dakota State (1-0) at Saint Mary's-CA (2-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, November 14, 11:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McKeon Pavilion (3,500) -- Moraga, California. Television: None. Home Record: NDSU 1-0, SMC 2-0. Away Record: NDSU 0-0, SMC 0-0. Neutral Record: NDSU 0-0, SMC 0-0. Conference Record: NDSU 0-0, SMC 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The North Dakota State Bison hit the road for the first time this season as they meet up with the Gaels of Saint Mary's-CA at McKeon Pavilion in Moraga, California tonight.
NDSU, which will play at home only one more time between now and the end of November, kicked off the 2013-14 campaign with a 93-49 thumping of Viterbo last Friday night.
As for the Gaels, a squad which doesn't leave home until traveling to Boise state the second week of December, they already have two wins to their credit. While NDSU was beating up on tiny Viterbo, SMC was topping Louisiana Tech (83-70), and then four days later captured an 85-63 triumph versus visiting Akron.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between the two schools on the hardwood.
North Dakota State's defense took center stage against Viterbo last week, limiting the visitors to only 34.1 percent shooting from the floor and forcing the squad into more turnovers (17) than they had made baskets (15). While Viterbo had just one player score in double figures, NDSU had five turn the trick as Mike Felt led the way with 23 points on an impressive 7-of-11 shooting behind the 3-point line. Taylor Braun added 16 points, Dexter Werner 12 and nine rebounds, followed by Trayvonn Wright and Lawrence Alexander with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
In the opener, the Bison nearly shot as well from beyond the arc (.526) as they did from the field overall (.530), although the squad's 61.9 percent effort at the free-throw line is something that could stand some major improvement.
The Gaels got off to a slow start against the Zips a few nights back, shooting just 38.5 percent from the field in the first half, but that all changed after the break as the team came back and knocked down a sizzling 66.7 percent from the floor in order to cruise to the easy win. Brad Waldow checked in with a team-high 16 points, followed by James Walker with 15, Stephen Holt 14 points and Jordan Giusti 12 points and six steals. SMC also shot an impressive 32- of-36 at the free-throw line, compared to just 19-of-29 by Akron.
Waldow, the leading scorer in both games for the Gaels, is putting up 22.0 ppg while shooting a sensational 65.4 percent from the field. Holt comes in with 16.0 ppg and is first in both rebounding (5.5 rpg) and assists (6.5 apg). Scoring 84.0 ppg, Saint Mary's is feasting at the free-throw line where it is converting 83.3 percent, compared to just 62.7 percent for the competition.
North Dakota State certainly has some talent on the roster again this season, but the Gaels have already shown that they can dial up the offense and run away from opponents.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Mary's-CA 81, North Dakota State 72
11/14 10:30:47 ET