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Southern Miss (2-0) at North Dakota State (1-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, November 18, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bison Sports Arena (5,830) -- Fargo, North Dakota. Television: MeTV. Home Record: USM 1-0, NDSU 1-0. Away Record: USM 1-0, NDSU 0-1. Neutral Record: USM 0-0, NDSU 0-0. Conference Record: USM 0-0, NDSU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The first-ever meeting between the North Dakota State Bison and the Southern Miss Golden Eagles is set to take place tonight in Fargo.
The Golden Eagles enter the meeting with two wins in as many tries to kick off the new season. Southern Miss followed up a 67-51 win over Jackson State in the opener on Nov. 8 with a 75-68 victory versus DePaul five days later.
As for the Bison, they began the 2013-14 campaign with a 93-49 thrashing of Viterbo, but were brought back to reality four days ago when they stumbled against Saint Mary's in a 78-65 final in Moraga, California.
The Golden Eagles took advantage of a poor effort by DePaul at the free-throw line in the first half (6-of-14), in order to take a 35-30 lead at the break and eventually capture the seven-point road win. A balanced scoring attack was led by Aaron Brown with his 13 points, followed by Daveon Boardingham and Michael Craig with 12 points apiece, while Chip Armelin converted all four of his field goals, including two beyond the arc, for his 10 points off the bench.
Boardingham leads a quartet of double-digit scorers through two games with 13.5 ppg, shooting 53.8 percent from the floor while also pulling down 8.0 rpg. Brown is responsible for another 12.5 ppg, thanks to his 57.1 percent accuracy on the perimeter. Defensively, USM is limiting the competition to 36.8 percent shooting from the field and 23.4 percent behind the 3-point line.
Marshall Bjorklund scored a team-high 23 points, shooting 10-of-14 from the floor, but even that effort was not enough to get the Bison over the top against the Gaels of Saint Mary's. Taylor Braun pitched in with 14 points, but he shot only 5-of-15 from the field, followed by Lawrence Alexander who chipped in 12 points for the visitors to McKeon Pavilion. The biggest issue for NDSU was an inability to shoot from the outside, the team hitting on just one of 13 chances beyond the arc.
The stats for the Bison right now are a bit skewed following their massive opening win over Viterbo, so to expect them to continually outscore opponents by more than 15 ppg would be foolish. Nevertheless, Braun is still someone who has the potential to net 15.0 ppg, just as long as he doesn't continue to shoot only 50 percent at the free-throw line. The team as a whole is making just 64.1 percent at the stripe, compared to 76.0 percent for the competition.
The fact that Southern Miss was able to set down the Blue Demons says something about the team's potential moving forward. However, traveling to Fargo can't be an easy task for any team, so expect the unexpected tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Southern Miss 69, North Dakota State 66
11/18 10:31:54 ET