The irony was cruel, really. On a day when South Dakota State head coach Scott Nagy honored Samaritan’s Feet by coaching barefoot, a tribute the NDSU coaches backed up by wearing tennis shoes (is that what they’re still called? Sneakers?), the Bison suffered another apparent foot injury.
With 1:16 left in the 69-53 loss to the Jackrabbits, forward TrayVonn Wright was in the process of taking off for a dunk when he pulled up lame. He was sitting on a training table after the game next to the Frost Arena court, and the word was given he was to have Xrays when he got back to Fargo.
This, on top of the broken foot to leading scorer Taylor Braun.
It’s not looking promising in the Bison camp on this night.
For advice on how to get through injuries, perhaps nobody has more expertise in Summit League basketball than SDSU head coach Scott Nagy, who went through a series of setbacks a few years ago.
“I could write a book,” Nagy said, “just all the things that happened to us for a stretch, They were some very, very odd things. You get through it by being good defensively. That’s how you get through it. They lose Braun and win the next game by almost 40 (IUPUI), because they’re good defensively. That’ what you get back to and they will. Defensively they are tough. They have an anchor in their center (Marshall Bjorklund), so they don’t have get out of position to guard a post like we do. And they’re leading the league in defensive field goal percentage.”
Without Braun, an NCAA tournament is still doable. If you add TrayVonn to that list, doable turns to uphill battle.
On another note, I asked readers on Twitter the following question regarding NDSU being 7 of 10 from the free throw line the last two games and SDSU and Western Illinois 37 of 56. It’s quite the disparity. Was it not being aggressive on offense, poor defense or questionable officiating? My take, and one reader hit it straight on, without Braun, the Bison don’t have that slasher to get to the basket and draw fouls. It didn’t look to me the SDSU game was what people call a homer job, the Jacks took it to the hole with more authority and were clearly the better team in the second half. Freshman Kory Brown fouled out, and about three of those were freshman fouls and a few others were late in the game in catchup mode. But I also got the feeling in post-game that head coach Saul Phillips wanted to say something, but didn’t.