The North Dakota State University Bison came away with a 66-60 over the last place IUPUI Jaguars on Thursday night. Here are my thoughts on the victory.
· Marshall Bjorklund came out with a t-shirt underneath his jersey. Not that it particularly matters but I have never seen Bjorklund go with this look before. Must be trying something different.
· Must have worked. He made the first basket.
· IUPUI coming out with a little emotion. Probably frustration after losing 12 of their last 13.
· Bjorklund has started out the game shooting one for four, with two of those three misses coming from in close. Unlucky start.
· IUPUI starting off this game strong, with four points in the paint and three second chance points.
· Bjorklund quickly pulled out of the game in favor of Jordan Aaberg. Not too surprised that Aaberg is first off bench instead of Mike Felt. He has played well this season off the bench.
· Problem with taking Bjorklund out is the offense really struggles. Not sure what to do without him in the game.
· NDSU currently sleep walking through this game. Something needs to wake them up.
· Just under 14 minutes to go in the first half and Aaberg hits a nice hook shot.
· Aaberg with another basket. Being aggressive with his offense. One more make like that should draw some attention.
· Pretty move by Lawarence Alexander in the lane going to the bucket for two points.
· Jordan Aaberg is on fire right now. He has hit all four of his shots, including one from about 15 feet out. That is the spark NDSU needed.
· Taylor Braun finally knocks in his first two points of the game with 8:30 to go in the contest.
· Beautiful fall away bank shot from LA and NDSU now up 18-14. LA tends to not be aggressive with his offense and that is unfortunate. I feel that if he pushed the envelope a little more, he would make this offense that much better.
· Khufu Najee looks pretty smooth with his mid-range jumper. He has knocked down a couple of them off the dribble.
· Mitch Patton, the 6”9’ center for the Jaguars, having a solid game throughout the first half. Lanky guy who has been solid down low for IUPUI tonight.
· The first half was a yawner. A slow pace matched with very little energy from NDSU crowd equaled into a really sleepy game to this point. I probably should have skipped that heavy supper before coming here.
· So far, NDSU shooting 46 percent from the field but 0-6 from three.
· Aaberg and Bjorklund both have eight points while LA has seven. Braun only has three.
· For IUPUI, they are shooting 36 percent from the field, with Patton leading way in points with nine. Najee has six points.
· NDSU outscoring IUPUI in the paint 20-6 and 10-0 in bench points.
· The Bison only had two second half turnovers compared to IUPUI’s six.
· NDSU just cannot buy a bucket from outside. Meanwhile, Patton making fade away, bank shot, and-1s against the Bison “D.” So, that’s happening.
· TrayVonn Wright, the team’s third leading scorer, didn’t get his first bucket of the game until near the 17 minute mark of the second half.
· Taylor Braun with a strong move to the hoop for the throwdown. Love me some dunks.
· Kory Brown a pretty impressive defensive sequence. First, he steals the ball, leads the break and throws it to the rim for an alley-op for either LA or Wright. They couldn’t decide so no dunk, but on the way back down for the Jags, Brown intercepts another pass, saves it from going out of bounds, nearly kills Jeff Kolpack and runs down the court to get the lay-up.
· NDSU’s defense has started to spark their offense. Blocks, steals, etc… tend to give this team a swagger on the offensive side of the ball.
· NDSU has forced four straight turnovers of IUPUI. Braun with another dunk and the crowd loved it.
· Second timeout in about 1:30 seconds from IUPUI head coach Todd Howard. Been an ugly stretch for IUPUI. Down 43-29 with 12:51 to go in the game, they need to do something in order to keep this game within reach.
· Another Bison steal leads to another Bison dunk. This time, Brown on the receiving end of a great pass from Taylor Braun.
· Taylor Braun throws down another dunk. The Bison have gotten really aggressive on both ends of the floor in this half.
· Braun with too aggressive of a close out on P.J. Hubert, who knocks down the three despite the harm. Also hits the foul shot to boot.
· Brown with a monster dunk as he throws it down despite three Jags going for the block.
· With six minutes to go, despite their best efforts, NDSU cannot shake the Jaguars. Still within eight points at this juncture of the game.
· Braun yet to reach double digits in scoring. The last time he didn’t score in double figures was back on December 2 against Valley City State University.
· NDSU has yet to hit a three tonight. 0-10 with under four minutes to go.
· Kory Brown with the steal and the alley-op to Wright. Perfectly executed this time.
· IUPUI’s three point shooting has kept them in this game. 6-14 from deep while NDSU has yet to hit a three.
· IUPUI down six with 1:19 to go. However, they called their last timeout of the game and will have to go the rest of the way without one.
· LA gets away with one on a drive. Looked as if he double dribbled, but they did not call it. Gets NDSU back up five with under a minute to go.
· Braun finally hits the double-digit mark in scoring with 38 seconds left in the game. He kind of went away in the second half and let his teammates come up with the scoring.
· Best part of the BSA being this quiet, everybody gets to hear the interaction between NDSU head coach Saul Phillips and the referee on questionable calls. Coach Phillips felt a certain foul call, in his words, was “awful.”
· NDSU sleep walking through this game and getting away with it. Against Fort Wayne, they won’t be so lucky. Especially one coming off an embarrassing loss. Fort Wayne got bounced in Brookings tonight 79-51. SDSU was up 32 at one point in the second half.
· A defensive stop at the end of the game gives the Bison victory. Ugly but that really doesn’t matter at this point. Win is a win for NDSU. Now tied with Fort Wayne at 6-2 in League play.
· NDSU wins the game 66-60.
· Coach Phillips said he was not at all happy with all the threes the team allowed in the closing seconds.
· Phillips said the team struggled shooting outside of dunking.
· Phillips talked about not hitting the front end of one-and-ones and allowing threes on the other end leading to IUPUI coming back into the game.
· LA said he didn’t feel like the team escaped one. Felt that they didn’t take control of certain situations.
· Phillips talked about how this game is not representative of how his team can close out games.
· LA led his team in scoring with 17 points. Braun at 14, Aaberg had 11 and Brown had 10.
· Mitch Patton ended up with 16 for the Jaguars and Ja’rob McCallum had 15 points, all three pointers.
· NDSU went 0-10 from three and 8-15 from the free throw line. NDSU coming into tonight’s game was shooting 38 percent from three and 75 percent from the free throw line.
· NDSU had nine steals and caused 15 turnovers while only turning the ball over five times.
· NDSU now moves to 17-6 overall and 6-2 in League play. Next up is a date with Fort Wayne and a shot at first place in the Summit League.
You can follow Daniel "Pinto" Gunderson on Twitter at @pintoKFGO or friend him on Facebook. You can hear him on his weekly podcast show on kfgo.com, 740thefan.com or on iTunes called “The Pinto and White Shadow Show.” Pinto is a radio producer within the Midwest Communications-Fargo company.