NDSU clinches No. 1 seed in SDSU defeat


The Summit League’s No. 1 ranked North Dakota State pulverized No. 2 ranked South Dakota State 74-59 on Saturday crushing SDSU’s six game winning streak. Saturday’s game was one of the final games held in the Bison Sports Arena before the structure will undergo a major renovation.

South Dakota State stepped onto the court to a large sea of boos, ensuing the rivalry and pressure for the No. 1 rank. To start off the first half, the Bison received the tip off and NDSU’s Kory Brown lead the game 2-0. Later in the half, Bison would go on a 7-0 run over the Jacks, taking the lead 7-2. 

With 11:05 remaining in the half, the gap between scores grew to 14-5 with the Bison keeping their lead. Jacks shooting was at 16.7 percent, compared to the Bison’s 50 percent. 

At halftime, NDSU kept their lead 33-18. SDSU’s shooting was 7-25 for field goals and 1-7 with 3-pointers. Point leaders at the half were senior Jordan Dykstra with seven points and senior Marcus Heemstra with six. 

NDSU’s junior TrayVonn Wright led the game with 10 points at the half and senior Marshall Bjorklund not far behind with eight points.

“The first half was very disappointing,” head coach Scott Nagy said. “We were just very timid I don’t know how else to put it … it starts on the defensive end for us, not the offensive end. It leads into bad offense when you’re not good defensively.”

Senior Brayden Carlson was also not secure with the team’s performance in the first half.

“…I felt like we had good energy, we weren’t really focused, we weren’t really sharp to start,” Carlson said.

Although the Jacks had a rough first half, the second half was not much better. Starting off the second half, the Bison gained their largest lead in the game with a 20-point gap, making for a score of 46-26.

With less than five minutes

left in the game, starters Dykstra and senior Chad White fouled out, causing Nagy to sub in Heemstra and freshman Anders Broman. 

A three from Heemstra allowed the Jacks to close the gap to 63-53, the closest point margin since the beginning of the game. However, this wouldn’t last for long as the Bison stretched out their lead once again to win the game 74-59.

The Jacks improved their shooting slightly with 36.4 percent, going 12-33.  Junior Cody Larson came away with the most points for SDSU, with a total of 11. Heemstra led in rebounds with eight and Carlson had five assists.

Wright led the Bison with 20 points and seven rebounds. Junior Lawrence Alexander led the team with five assists.

“Today I feel like as a coach I failed them, in terms as getting them ready for what was coming,” Nagy said. “We just have to move on from here.”

Nagy mentioned that NDSU played great, and that they deserve to be the Summit League Conference Champions.  Feelings were mutual with NDSU head coach Saul Phillips.

“I think we’re going to play them [SDSU] again, I think they’re a really good team,” Phillips said. “I think they had a night where a couple of their shots that normally would have gone in rattled out, some of that had to do with us [NDSU], some of it’s just dumb luck.”

Both coaches feel that they will meet again in the Summit League Tournament.

After Saturday’s loss, SDSU is now tied with Fort Wayne and Denver for the No. 2 seed in the Summit League Tournament.

SDSU will play Denver in Frost Arena Thursday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m.  For the final game of the regualr season, the Jacks will take on the University of South Dakota Coyotes at home Saturday, March 1 at 4 p.m.