North Dakota State (15-3) vs. IUPUI (6-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 17, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bankers Life Fieldhouse (18,165) -- Indianapolis,
Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: NDSU 8-0, IUPUI 4-3. Away Record: NDSU
5-3, IUPUI 1-9. Neutral Record: NDSU 2-0, IUPUI 1-2. Conference Record: NDSU
6-0, IUPUI 1-5. Series Record: IUPUI leads, 7-3.
GAME NOTES: The North Dakota State Bison attempt to continue their reign atop
the Summit League on Thursday night when they do battle with the IUPUI Jaguars
at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
North Dakota State's season has been nothing short of spectacular, as it has
lost just three of its 18 games, and at 6-0 in the Summit League, it is tied
with Western Illinois for first place. Since dropping a tough road game
against nationally-ranked Minnesota on Dec. 11 (70-57), it has ripped off a
season-high seven straight wins.
The Bison's most recent triumph came in a home bout against Oakland last
Saturday, where they got out to a 12-point halftime lead and went on to post
the 73-65 win. They shot a lofty 60.5 percent from the floor, including 11-
of-20 from 3-point range, which helped make up for a poor night from the foul
line (10-of-22) and 19 turnovers. TrayVonn Wright led the way with 20 points
while also blocking five shots. Lawrence Alexander tallied 19 points, eight
rebounds and five assists, Marshall Bjorklund added 15 points, and Taylor
Braun chipped in with 11.
It has been largely a struggle this season for IUPUI, which is just 6-14,
which includes only one win in six conference matchups. Since winning back-to-
back games in late December, it has been plummeting in the standings thanks to
four straight losses.
The Jaguars' last tilt was on Jan. 10 when they traveled to Nebraska Omaha and
were saddled with a 90-79 loss. They shot 47.6 percent from the field and
drained 10 3-pointers, but they ultimately couldn't keep up with the
Mavericks, who made more than 62 percent of their field goal attempts. Donovan
Gibbs shined despite the setback, recording his second double-double of the
year with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Sean Esposito shot 5-of-10 from beyond
the arc on his way to 20 points, and Jordan Shanklin netted 15 points.
IUPUI has won five of the last six meetings with NDSU to take a 7-3 lead in
the all-time series.
NDSU has been spectacular at both ends of the floor this season. Not only does
the team drain a conference-best 48.8 percent of its field goal attempts for
71.1 ppg, but it also allows opponents to net just 57.4 ppg (second-best in
the Summit). Braun is the league's best 3-point shooter, making 34-of-68
(.500) from long range en route to a team-best 15.2 ppg. Bjorklund (13.2 ppg,
5.6 rpg) and Alexander (10.4 ppg) have been impressive, and Mike Felt (9.1
ppg) is also a threat from beyond the arc, making 43 triples at a 38.1 percent
It's not a surprise that IUPUI sports a minus-7.4 scoring margin, and while
the offense has shown some promise (.440 FG percentage, 68.5 ppg), it hasn't
been able to stop many teams at the defensive end of the court, as it permits
an average of 75.9 ppg. The Jaguars are playing shorthanded, as top scorer
John Hart (14.2 ppg) was recently declared ineligible, and Ian Chiles (10.3
ppg) has played in just four games due to a toe injury. In their absences,
Mitchell Patton has become the primary option, scoring 12.4 ppg on 58.8
percent shooting, and Gibbs (9.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg) has also stepped up his play.
Although this is technically a neutral-site affair, IUPUI will have the clear
geographical advantage playing right down the road from its campus. Still, it
has been playing poorly of late, while NDSU has played like the Summit
League's best team, meaning the Bison should have no problem barreling over
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Dakota State 77, IUPUI 60
01/17 10:36:53 ET
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