South Dakota (12-15) at North Dakota State (21-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 27, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bison Sports Arena (6,000) -- Fargo, North Dakota. Television: MeTV. Home Record: South Dakota 10-3, North Dakota State 10-1. Away Record: South Dakota 2-11, North Dakota State 10-5. Neutral Record: South Dakota 0-1, North Dakota State 1-0. Conference Record: South Dakota 6-6, North Dakota State 10-2. Series Record: North Dakota State leads, 91-76.
GAME NOTES: As the regular season draws to a close, the North Dakota State Bison will try to extend a five-game win streak as they host the South Dakota Coyotes in a Summit League clash at Bison Sports Arena.
South Dakota is on a win streak of its own, having come away victorious in the team's past three games. The Coyotes beat Western Illinois, 64-54, on Saturday to improve to 6-6 in the Summit League standings.
North Dakota State has won five straight and 10 of its last 11 games altogether. The Bison took down rival South Dakota State on Saturday, 74-59, to give them a two-game cushion atop the conference standings. With a win against South Dakota, the Bison will clinch the top spot in the Summit League.
North Dakota State has the lead in the lengthy all-time series with South Dakota, 91-76. The Bison came away with a tight 66-63 win on the road in South Dakota back on Jan. 30 this season.
In the team's final home game of the regular season, South Dakota took a six- point lead over Western Illinois on Saturday and built on that lead in the second half en route to the 10-point win. Karim Rowson led the Coyotes in scoring in the contest with 11 points, and Tyler Larson chipped in with seven points and six rebounds. South Dakota hit 94.4 percent of its free-throw tries in the game, missing just one of six in the first half and hitting all 12 attempts in the second period.
Big man Trevor Gruis tops the Coyotes this season in scoring with 11.9 ppg, hitting 55 percent of his shots from the field. Gruis leads the team in rebounding with a 6.1 rpg average, and adds a second-best 36 blocked shots to his stat resume. Brandon Bos is second in scoring, and the only other Coyotes player to average a double-digit point total at 11.6 ppg. Trey Norris leads the team with 113 total assists on the year with a team-high 35 steals.
The first half of Saturday's battle with conference foe South Dakota State is when North Dakota State did most of its damage. The Bison leapt out to a 33-18 advantage at the intermission thanks to 53.9 percent shooting in the frame, helped along by 28 percent shooting for SDSU. TrayVonn Wright led NDSU with 20 points in the contest, adding seven rebounds. Marshall Bjorklund contributed 18 points, Lawrence Alexander added 12 and Kory Brown tallied 10 in the win.
Taylor Braun, who has had some spectacular games recently for North Dakota State, seemed to take the night off from his team-leading scorer's role, netting just six points against the Jackrabbits. Braun averages 18.2 ppg this season, unselfishly dishing out a team-best 102 assists with 46 steals. Bjorklund is second in scoring at 13.7 ppg, and Alexander checks in at third with 11.4 ppg. Wright and Braun lead the squad with matching 5.2 rpg averages, while Wright rounds out the double-digit team scorers with 11.1 ppg.
The Summit League is North Dakota State's to lose with just two games remaining. The Bison have such a powerful scoring lineup, and hold their opponents to 66.6 ppg. The Coyotes will find playing in Fargo is too much to handle.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Dakota State 78, South Dakota 67
02/27 10:54:02 ET