Tonight was the kind of game in past years that the Bison men’s basketball team wouldn’t have rallied to win, but with a team that has nearly five guys that will score 1,000 points in their careers you get the kind of comeback that NDSU put together.
The Bison scored just 22 second half points, but ten of them came in the final 3:30 of the game as NDSU beat South Dakota 66-63 to improve to 5-1 in the Summit League. TrayVonn Wright picked up the slack for an ailing Taylor Braun, Wright scored 20 points, but Braun was huge when he needed to be, scoring a huge three point play that gave NDSU the lead at 64-63. Wright then sank two free throws after USD missed two foul shots. NDSU head coach Saul Phillips referenced a game in 2009 when the Bison fought off a plucky UMKC team in Kansas City in January of that year, that was a 65-60 OT win for NDSU that night, here’s the recap of that game. NDSU now has won the first two of its big three game road swing with a trip to Denver coming on Saturday, the Pioneers lost a heartbreaker to the Jacks tonight 74-73 and has muddled up the standings in the Summit:
- NDSU 5-1 ( at Denver Saturday)
- IPFW 5-1 ( vs WIU Saturday)
- SDSU 3-3 ( at USD Saturday)
- USD 3-3 ( vs SDSU Saturday)
- WIU 3-3 ( at IPFW Saturday)
- Denver 3-3 ( Host Denver Saturday)
- Omaha 2-4 ( at IUPUI Saturday)
- IUPUI 0-6 ( Host Omaha Saturday)
Everything is pointing to next Saturday’s NDSU-IPFW game as a must-see, with the potential of the top seed in the conference at stake as we near the halfway point of the Summit season.
Also wanted to touch on this tonight as we close in on Signing Day, as most know there is no exact science with recruiting, some players that jump off the page may not pan out, while others that go way under the radar end up being your go to guys. The 2011 recruiting class was the first litmus test for the Bison coaching staff as they went on a deep playoff run, the season ran into the middle of December that previous year and it had an effect on recruiting. NDSU brought in 28 players that year either scholarship or walk-ons; only
ten (eleven) are still on the team. The ones that left were highly touted, Ryan Stanford and Matt Jones from Arizona, DeShawn Dinwiddie and Derek Lee from Kansas, Josh Lisenby from Chicago, Joey Sonnenfeld and Frank Veldman from Minnesota and Andrew Okland from Fargo South. There were a variety of reasons for why these guys left, but that’s a high number of attrition for one recruiting class.
On the flip side the players that have stayed are all contributors; some in big roles, others in short stints and others that we have yet to see.
- Luke Albers – 3 receptions for 43 yds in 2013, primarily a blocker
- Andrew Bonnet – becoming a standout on offense, blocking and receiving
- Jordan Champion – started 2 games at corner, leader to start in ’14
- Josh Colville – 2 year starter on offensive line at 2 different spots
- Ben LeCompte – 2 year starter at punter, All-Conference in ’13
- CJ Smith – Blossomed as starter in ’13, led pass breakups
- Dylan Dunn – Primarily a backup
- Brian Schaetz – From walk-on to defensive stopper/starter in ’14
- Joe Haeg – 2 year starter at right tackle, could move to LT
- Nate Moody – 3 year contributor at wide receiver
- Carson Wentz – Biggest unknown, has shone in brief moments