The Preseason favorites to win the Summit League North Dakota State Bison currently sit at 7-3 and went into the Joyce Center and beat Notre Dame 73-69 last night. Saul Phillips squad only goes about seven deep and is led by a trio of seniors; Preseason choice for Player of the Year Taylor Braun, forwards Marshall Bjorklund and TrayVonn Wright. Junior guard Lawrence Alexander, who at 6-3 is one of the team’s best rebounders and is second on the team in assists behind Braun.
Last night the quartet amassed 64 of the team’s 73 points, led by Bjorklund’s 26 and Alexander’s 14 points and 16 rebounds. The Bison only turned the ball over eight times and shot nearly 51% in the win.
Shooting well isn’t something new to NDSU, last year they finished 28th in the country in that category at 46.8% and currently sit 8th at 51.3%. No doubt the biggest reason for that is Bjorklund who finished 2nd in the country in field goal percentage last season at 66.7% and his soft touch from the inside currently has him with the 4th best field goal percentage in the history of college basketball. The lanky Braun at 6-7 doesn’t light up the scoreboard but when the night is over you see him all over the score sheet. In a six-point win over Santa Clara he had 21 points (on 1-9 shooting, he went a perfect 19-19 from the free throw line), eight rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals. Those are the type of numbers Braun has been putting up his whole career. In his first collegiate game he had seven points, seven rebounds and four assists in an overtime loss at Oregon.
After the big win at Notre Dame NDSU now travels to Ohio State for a game on Saturday and begins league play on January 9th.
Last year the Bison came one win short of the NCAA tournament. They hope to take that extra step this season and show their talents on an even bigger stage come March.