North Dakota State’s men’s basketball season ended at 14-15 Saturday night in the Summit League tournament, the second straight year the Bison went down to Oral Roberts in the first round. More was expected of this team, especially after November and December when it had quality winsÂ over the likes of Cal State-Santa Barbara, Cal Davis, South Dakota State and the second half bombing of UND.
On the other side, NDSU showed a promising future in the loss to ORU. Freshman forward TrayVonn Wright was out of sight with 19 points and 7 rebounds, including a fine touch from the perimeter with 3 of 3 from 3-point range. I said before the season that Wright should be redshirted so as to add some weight and muscle, and I was wrong.
Freshman guard-forward TaylorÂ Braun was very good the last month of the season. Freshman guard Mike Felt can light it up anywhere and freshman center Marshall Bjorklund was steadyÂ most of the season. Sophomore center Jordan Aaberg redshirted and he’ll be back as will veteran forward Eric Carlson, who the Bison would like to see a return to consistency he had the first two years. That’s a nice nucleus.
But to get out of the first round, the Bison need to findÂ some consistencyÂ at the point and that has to come from either Drew Lundberg,Â redshirt transfer Dylan Hale, incoming freshman Joel Lindberg or a D-I or JC transfer. The Bison have an available scholarship and I would think seriously of using it here. When ORU needed a hoop, guard Warren Niles was there withÂ a key 3-pointer in the final minute and 19 points overall.Â Â
After reaching the NCAA tournament in 2009, the last two seasons have been spent in .500 land. This year’s team was 2-8 in games decided by five points or less. The fabÂ class of Woodside, Winkelman et. al had their problems closing out games their first two years before turning it on. NDSU would like to see a similar blueprint in this group.