IPFW game big in more ways than Summit standings

IPFW game big in more ways than Summit standings

It’s been three straight games now where the NDSU men have not been at their best men’s basketball flow. The 66-60 win over an under-talented IUPUI team was disturbing in that the Bison had them down and ready for the 10 count in the second half, yet the Jaguars got back in the game. NDSU was up by 14 points with 13 minutes left, yet couldn’t finish the deal. Good teams don’t do that.

First place teams don’t go 8 of 15 from the free throw line or shoot 0 of 10 from 3-point range anywhere, much less at home. The Bison were outrebounded 32-28 against a team that wasn’t real athletic inside. Yet, NDSU prevailed when it wasn’t at its best.

Good teams do that.

The Bison shot 52 percent and committed only five turnovers — they found a way to win. They outscored IUPUI 52-12 in the paint. I would, for now, file this three-game stretch into one of those weeks that every team goes through. They won two of those three and are tied for first in the Summit. NDSU’s best player, Taylor Braun, battled an infection and looks noticeably slimmer. He’s got the rest of February to get that strength back.

Things brings us to Saturday against IPFW. I think this is a swing game in terms of how NDSU is playing. Three average games can be a hiccup. Four, including two straight at home, can be a trend. The Mastodon game is for first place in the Summit standings, but in the bigger picture for NDSU, it’s bigger than that.

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