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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 2, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bison Sports Arena (6,000) -- Fargo, North Dakota. Television: None. Home Record: USD 5-5, NDSU 9-0. Away Record: USD 2-8, NDSU 6-5. Neutral Record: USD 1-1, NDSU 2-0. Conference Record: USD 4-6, NDSU 8-2. Series Record: North Dakota State leads, 88-76.
GAME NOTES: Fresh off a record-setting performance on Thursday night, the North Dakota State Bison try to stay atop the Summit League standings on Saturday night when they play host to the South Dakota Coyotes.
South Dakota is in the midst of a rather disappointing season at just 8-14, and things have not been working out any better of late as it has dropped four of its last five contests. The Coyotes visited in-state rival South Dakota State on Thursday, and they were handed a 67-54 defeat to fall to 4-6 in conference play.
While South Dakota has struggled, NDSU has soared, and even though it dropped a pair of road games to Western Illinois on Jan. 19 and SDSU a week later, it bounced back with a dominating 71-34 win over UMKC on Thursday, setting a school-record for fewest points allowed to an opponent in the process. The Bison are 17-5 overall and are tied atop the Summit League standings with WIU and SDSU at 8-2, and they have yet to lose this season in nine bouts at Bison Sports Arena.
NDSU blew out South Dakota in the first meeting this season back on Jan, 3, 92-66, for its third straight win in a series it leads by an 88-76 margin.
Even though South Dakota outshot SDSU from the field on Thursday, 48.9 percent to 37.7 percent, it ultimately dropped the 13-point decision by losing the turnover battle, 17-8. It also lost key possessions by getting outrebounded on the offensive glass, 15-5. The only Coyote to score in double figures was Casey Kasperbauer, who shot 6-of-8 from the field, including 3-of-4 from 3- point range, en route to 15 points.
Scoring hasn't been the Coyotes issue this season, as they put up more points than any other team in the Summit League (73.2 ppg). However, their porous defense is another story, as they allow more than 76 ppg on average. Juevol Myles paces the squad with 15.5 ppg, and while his .387 field goal percentage is far from great, he's nearly automatic from the charity stripe (107-of-120, .892). Trevor Gruis (11.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.0 bpg) brings a stable presence to the paint, while Brandon Bos scores 10.3 ppg thanks mostly to a 30-of-70 showing from 3-point range (.429).
NDSU held UMKC to a meager 11-of-42 from the field and forced 18 turnovers in an outstanding defensive effort from earlier this week, but it also shot nearly 50 percent from the field itself. Mike Felt tallied 14 points off the bench, Kory Brown and Marshall Bjorklund each had a dozen, and all 11 players who took the floor scored in the triumph.
The Bison's offensive attack this season ranks in the middle of the pack in the Summit League (69.2 ppg), but as they showed on Thursday night, they have one of the best defenses in the nation, holding teams to a mere 55.8 ppg. With leading scorer Taylor Braun (15.2 ppg) out with a fractured foot, the squad relies heavily on Bjorklund (12.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Lawrence Alexander (10.2 ppg, 3.9 apg). Also adding depth to the Bison are TrayVonn Wright (9.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.7 bpg) and Felt (9.3 ppg, 55 3PM).
Considering South Dakota's general struggles this season and NDSU's dominance in Fargo, the Bison should have little trouble taking care of the Coyotes in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome North Dakota State 76, South Dakota 62
02/02 10:44:51 ET
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