North Dakota State (7-3) at (3) Ohio State (9-0)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 14, 8:15 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Value City Arena (18,809) -- Columbus, Ohio.
Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: NDSU 2-1, OSU 8-0. Away Record: NDSU
4-2, OSU 1-0. Neutral Record: NDSU 1-0, OSU 0-0. Conference Record: NDSU 0-0,
OSU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The North Dakota State Bison and the third-ranked Ohio State
Buckeyes will both attempt to extend winning streaks on Saturday night, as the
two squads meet up at Value City Arena as part of the Gotham Classic.
With an upset victory at Notre Dame on Wednesday night, 73-69, NDSU has now
conquered five games in a row to surge to 7-3 on the season. The Bison, who
have played seven of their last eight games away from home, will return to
Fargo on Monday for a bout with Delaware.
Ohio State has gone about its business this season without any setbacks,
winning all nine of its games to surge all the way to No. 3 in the latest AP
poll. The Buckeyes began their involvement in this event with an 86-48 victory
over Bryant on Wednesday, and they will travel to Madison Square Garden on
Dec. 21 for the Gotham Classic showcase game versus Notre Dame.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between the Bison and Buckeyes on the
In a close contest earlier this week against Notre Dame, NDSU grabbed hold of
a two-point lead with under nine minutes to play, and while its advantage
never grew to more than seven points down the stretch, it also never gave the
lead back to the Irish and held on for the upset win. The team benefited from
a 50.9 percent shooting night, with Marshall Bjorklund acting as the catalyst
with 26 points on 11-of-14 from the field. Lawrence Alexander tallied a
double-double with 16 points and 14 rebounds, while Taylor Braun chipped in
with 13 points and three steals. Productive shooting nights have become a
positive theme for the Bison in the early going this season, as they drain
51.3 percent of their field goal tries (tied for eighth in the nation) for
79.0 points per game, 9.5 points more than they allow. Braun leads the way
with 16.2 points per game, while Bjorklund's (15.2 ppg) individual field goal
percentage of .711 ranks fourth in the country among qualified scorers.
TrayVonn Wright (12.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg), Alexander (9.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and Mike
Felt (9.5 ppg) round out the balanced attack.
The Buckeyes put forth arguably their single most dominating effort of the
season in their latest outing, as they outshot Bryant, 52.5 percent to 27.6
percent, and won the turnover battle, 19-8, en route to the 38-point rout. All
10 players to see action scored at least four points, with Lenzelle Smith, Jr.
leading the way with 19. Amir Williams was also stellar with 12 points, nine
rebounds and six blocks. Ohio State has grown accustomed to impressive scoring
outputs, as it shoots 48.3 percent from the field for 75.9 ppg, but what
separates it from nearly every other team in the country is its outstanding
play at the other end of the floor, as it ranks second in the nation in
scoring defense (53.8 ppg) and third in field goal percentage defense (.360).
Although no one scores more than Smith, Jr.'s 12.9 ppg, eight players put up
at least 4.6 ppg. Ross (11.1 ppg), Williams (10.7 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.7 bpg),
Aaron Craft (10.2 ppg, 4.9 apg, 2.6 spg) and Shannon Scott (9.1 ppg) round out
a cohesive lineup that has started all nine games together.
NDSU made a statement at Notre Dame earlier in the week that it is a force to
be reckoned with, even outside of the Summit League, but stepping up to take
down the mighty Buckeyes is highly unlikely considering the flawless nature of
Ohio State's season so far, especially at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio State 73, North Dakota State 60
12/14 10:41:39 ET