Bison take the Summit, prepare to go dancing

No. 1 seeded NDSU defeated No. 2 seeded Fort Wayne to take the Summit League championship 60-57 for the first time since 2009 in front of 4,263 fans.

Tuesday night’s win marked the first time since 1994 that all the top seeded teams won their games and the second time the Bison have taken home a Summit League tournament championship.

Fort Wayne led for a majority of the game by as many as eight points just before the half with 35-27.

The Bison scored 10-straight in the final two minutes of play, outscoring IPFW in the second half 30-22 after the Fort Wayne led 35-30 at the half.

The teams competed in a game changing leads 10 plus times, but not once with great margin. It appeared as if each basket was answered with another. NDSU and IPFW each finished the game with 40.7 and 40.8 field goal percentages, respectively.

“Gosh, I thought that was a high-level basketball game,” IPFW’s head coach Tony Jasick said. “I thought we had a lot of ball on the rim that just didn’t fall tonight for us. … I hope, for our seniors, they get to play again.”

This loss may not mark the end of the road for the Mastodons as there is a chance the team could continue to a postseason tournament. NDSU will continue on to the NCAA tournament with a 25-6 record.

The contest was back-and-forth game until NDSU’s Taylor Braun landed a layup with 1:20 remaining in the game to make it 59-55 and ultimately out of reach for the Mastodons.

NDSU’s TrayVonn Wright contributed 19 points. Though no IPFW players contributed more than 10 points, Pierre Bland, Luis Jacobo and Michael Kibiloski each scored nine. Bland additionally contributed nine rebounds.

The conclusion of the championship game included the all-tournament team announcement. NDSU’s Marshall Bjorkland, Braun and Wright were included as well as Fort Wayne’s Bland and Jacobo.

Braun earned the honor of Most Valuable Player after a contribution of 43 points between the Denver and IPFW games.

The game’s attendance of 4,263 contributed to a total of 37,304 in tournament attendance including the women’s games. 2014 ranks as the third-highest attendance in tournament history.

NDSU awaits the announcement of the upcoming NCAA tournament selection and placement on Sunday, March 16 at 5:00 p.m. on CBS.