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NDSU's Jordan Aaberg scored a season-high 12 points at South Dakota last week.
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Courtesy: Bob Nelson
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Bison Men Return to National TV Hosting Fort Wayne Thursday, Oakland Saturday

Courtesy: NDSU Athletic Media Relations
Release: January 09, 2013

THIS WEEK:  The North Dakota State men's basketball team returns home for a pair of nationally televised games this week when the Bison (13-3, 4-0) host Fort Wayne (8-9, 1-2) at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 10, and Oakland (7-10, 2-1) at 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, at the Bison Sports Arena (5,830) in Fargo.  NDSU has won five straight and eight of its last nine contests, and has a six-game home court winning streak.

WATCH:  Midco Sports Network and Fox College Sports Pacific will carry both games live with Tom Nieman calling the play-by-play and Brad Newitt as color analyst.  A live video stream will be available to NDSU All Access subscribers on GoBison.com and live stats will be available on GoBison.com and the NDSU Bison mobile app for Android, iPhone and iPod Touch.

LISTEN:  KFGO-AM 790 of Fargo and Bison Radio Network affiliate KLTC-AM 1460 in Dickinson will broadcast live with KFGO's Scott Miller calling the play-by-play and NDSU director of sales and broadcasting Jeremy Jorgenson as color analyst.  Coverage includes 20-minute pregame and postgame shows.  Live audio streaming will be on GoBison.com and the NDSU Bison mobile app for Android, iPhone and iPod Touch.

THE SERIES:  Thursday will be the 15th meeting between North Dakota State and Fort Wayne dating back to 2005-06.  IPFW leads the series 8-6.  The Bison won 84-68 in Fargo and lost 75-66 in Fort Wayne last season.  Saturday will be the 13th meeting between North Dakota State and Oakland dating back to 2004-05.  Oakland leads the series 8-4, but NDSU swept the season series last year winning 96-69 in Fargo and 78-75 in Rochester.

ABOUT FORT WAYNE:  The Mastodons are 8-9 overall and 1-2 in The Summit League after a 96-78 home win over Omaha last Saturday.  Senior guard Frank Gaines is the top returner from last year's 11-19 team that placed eighth in the league with a 5-12 record.  Gaines ranks 32nd nationally with 19.3 points per game and is already 110-for-143 from the free-throw line - more than 25 foul shots than anybody else in the league.  College of Central Florida transfer Luis Jacobo is IPFW's second leading scorer with 10.6 points per game and Trinity Valley CC transfer Mario Hines is the team's top rebounder with 5.9 per game, including 2.6 on the offensive end.  Tony Jasick (Mars Hill, 2000) has a 19-28 record in his second season as head coach at Fort Wayne.

ABOUT OAKLAND:  The Golden Grizzlies were 7-10 overall and 2-1 in The Summit League heading into Thursday's game at South Dakota State.  Junior guard Travis Bader is the top returning scorer from last year's 20-16 team that placed third in the league with an 11-7 record.  Bader is 25th in the nation with 19.6 points per game and is fifth with 3.8 three-pointers made per game.  Six-foot-10 center Corey Petros is averaging 12.8 points per game and a team-high 7.6 rebounds per game including 3.1 on the offensive end.  Providence transfer Duke Mondy is third in scoring with 12.0 points per game and with 51 steals ranks seventh nationally with 3.0 steals per game.  Greg Kampe (Bowling Green, 1978) has a 497-359 record in his 29th season as head coach at Oakland.

BISON 46th IN FIRST NCAA RPI:  North Dakota State was 46th in the first NCAA Rating Percentage Index released Monday, Jan. 7.  It is the highest ranking in program history, passing the No. 86 final ranking by the 2009 NCAA tournament team and No. 80 ranking after last season's 10-3 start.

BISON CLIMB TO 11th IN MID-MAJOR POLL:  North Dakota State jumped three spots to No. 11 in the seventh CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 released Monday, Jan. 7.  It matches the highest ranking in program history when NDSU's 2009 Summit League championship and NCAA tournament team went 26-7 and was 11th in the final poll.  NDSU received votes in the first two polls this year and was ranked 25th, 25th, 22nd and 14th the past four weeks.

NDSU SWEEPS FIRST ROAD TRIP:  North Dakota State's wins at South Dakota and Kansas City last weekend marked the first 2-0 Summit League road trip since the Bison clinched the 2009 regular-season title at Centenary and Oral Roberts.  Marshall Bjorklund scored a season-high 23 points and had eight rebounds to lead NDSU to a 92-66 win at USD, where the Bison shot 80 percent in the first half (21-for-26) and led 52-26 at halftime.  TrayVonn Wright notched his second double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds in NDSU's 63-44 win over UMKC.  The Bison led 28-19 at the half and later stretched the lead to 23.

BIGGEST CROWD IN THREE YEARS:  North Dakota State won its sixth straight home game Dec. 29 with a 65-62 victory over South Dakota State in front of a crowd of 5,064 at the Bison Sports Arena despite a limited student turnout over the winter break.  It was the largest BSA crowd since 2009 when NDSU beat SDSU in the home finale with 5,790 in attendance.

ALEXANDER PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  North Dakota State guard Lawrence Alexander was named Summit League Player of the Week for the first time in his career Dec. 31.  Alexander had 18 points and a season-high six assists in North Dakota State's 65-62 home win over South Dakota State.  He was 6-for-10 from the field and grabbed two rebounds.  Alexander scored nine points in the game's final five minutes to help the Bison overcome a four-point deficit.  He played all 40 minutes and had zero turnovers in the second half.

WRIGHT FOURTH IN CAREER BLOCKS:  North Dakota State junior TrayVonn Wright has moved into sole possession of fourth place in NDSU history with 86 career blocks.  Wright has blocked a shot in 15 straight games, including a career-high four blocks in the win at Towson.

NDSU Career Blocks, top four
1. Jason Wenschlag, 220 (1989-93)
2. Joe Regnier, 146 (1985-89)
3. Jeff Giersch, 89 (1980-82)
4. TrayVonn Wright, 86 (2010-present)

BISON BLOCKING SHOTS AT RECORD PACE:  Already more than halfway to last year's season total of 108, North Dakota State has blocked 76 shots in 16 games.  NDSU's average of 4.8 blocks per game ranked 57th nationally through Sunday and would be third best in school history.  NDSU has blocked at least four shots in 13 of 16 games with a season-low of one block at Kansas City and a season-high nine blocks at Morehead State.

BJORKLUND LEADS NATION IN SHOOTING:  North Dakota State forward Marshall Bjorklund's .696 shooting percentage leads the nation for the second straight week in the NCAA Division I statistics through Sunday, Jan. 6.  Bjorklund made 24 consecutive field goals over a three-game span against Morehead State, South Dakota State and South Dakota, four shy of the NCAA all-divisions record of 28 straight field goals made by NDSU's Lance Berwald over a three-game span in February 1984.

SCORING DEFENSE:  North Dakota State ranked 20th nationally through Sunday allowing just 57.1 points per game, which would be the best scoring defense in school history dating back to 1950-51.  The Duquesne and James Madison games marked the first back-to-back 40-point efforts by the NDSU defense since 1990-91 when the Bison did it against North Dakota (L, 28-49) and Omaha (W, 65-48).  NDSU has held seven opponents under 50 points and prior to this year had done that just seven times in eight seasons of Division I basketball.

NCAA STATS:  North Dakota State ranked among the top 50 nationally in nine categories in the eighth NCAA statistics report through Sunday, Jan. 6.  Individually, Marshall Bjorklund ranked first in field-goal percentage (.696).
NDSU in the NCAA Stats, all games through Jan. 6
20th - scoring defense (57.1)
24th - FG percentage (.478)
25th - FG percentage defense (.377)
29th - fewest turnovers per game (11.4)
30th - total points (1139)
30th - scoring margin (+14.1)
34th - 3FG percentage (.380)
36th - winning percentage (.813)
40th - FT percentage (.743)

BRAUN ON PACE FOR 1,000:  North Dakota State junior Taylor Braun enters the week with 964 career points and is on pace to become the 28th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point mark.  Braun is averaging 12.7 points over 76 career games.  Michael Tveidt (2007-11) was the last 1,000-point scorer at NDSU.

BRAUN TWO-TIME SUMMIT PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  North Dakota State's Taylor Braun was named Summit League Player of the Week by the league office for the second time in three weeks Dec. 10.  Braun averaged 22.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in a pair of victories.  He made 11 of 12 free throws and scored a game-high 23 points at Morehead State, and he led the Bison with 22 points and a career-high five steals against North Dakota.  He earned his first career award Nov. 26 after averaging 11.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists over four games and being named MVP of the Progressive Legends Classic Pittsburgh Subregional.

BRAUN TIES 3-POINT RECORD:  Taylor Braun tied a school record with seven 3-pointers made in the 95-51 win over Omaha on Nov. 29.  Braun had 26 points and nine rebounds in the game and NDSU finished one shy of its team record making 15 of 25 shots from behind the arc.  Braun tied the mark held by several players including Mike Felt, who made seven against Centenary in January 2011.

BRAUN MVP, WRIGHT ALL-TOURNAMENT:  North Dakota State's Taylor Braun was named Most Valuable Player and TrayVonn Wright was named to the all-tournament team at the Progressive Legends Classic subregional.  Braun averaged 14.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists in NDSU's 3-0 run through the tournament.  Wright averaged 12.3 points and 7.3 rebounds.  Eleven of his 22 rebounds were on the offensive glass.

BISON WIN ANOTHER TOURNAMENT:  Non-conference tournaments have been a success for the Bison in recent years.  North Dakota State won the Pittsburgh Subregional of the Progressive Legends Classic with wins Nov. 19-21 over Youngstown State, Duquesne and James Madison.  NDSU went 3-0 last year at the University of San Francisco's Hilltop Challenge and 2-1 in the Basketball Travelers Invitational at Oregon two years ago.  NDSU has a 17-6 record in non-conference tournaments since 2005-06 including championships at Montana State (Dec. 2005), Marquette (Dec. 2006) and San Francisco (Nov. 2011).

BISON PICKED SECOND IN SUMMIT LEAGUE:  North Dakota State was picked to finish second out of nine teams in The Summit League according to a preseason poll of the league's head coaches, sports information directors and media.  Defending Summit League tournament champion South Dakota State was the unanimous pick to win the league with all 30 available first-place votes and 390 points.  North Dakota State had 321 points and got SDSU's vote for first place, Oakland was third with 310 points and Western Illinois fourth with 274 points.  IUPUI edged Fort Wayne by two points for fifth place.  Kansas City, South Dakota and league newcomer Omaha filled out the seventh, eighth and ninth spots in order.  NDSU had three players named to the preseason all-league teams.  Junior guard Taylor Braun was voted to the first team and junior forward Marshall Bjorklund and sophomore guard Lawrence Alexander landed on the second team.

SECOND POSTSEASON APPEARANCE:  Last year's College Basketball Invitational presented by Zebra Pen was NDSU's second postseason appearance since beginning Division I play in 2004-05 and the first since the 2009 NCAA tournament when the Bison won the Summit League tournament and lost to No. 3 seed Kansas 84-74 in the first round of the Midwest Region.  NDSU's first year of postseason eligibility was 2009 after a five-year reclassification from Division II that left the Bison out of the playoffs from 2005 through 2008.

STATISTICAL LEADERS:  North Dakota State's scoring defense of 68.4 points allowed per game last year ranked fifth overall in The Summit League but was the 12th best mark in school history over a span of 62 seasons dating back to 1950-51.  NDSU led the league in field goal percentage defense at .434 and field goal shooting at .488, which ranked seventh nationally.  Junior guard Mike Felt ranked 14th nationally in 3-point percentage at .431.

PHILLIPS TIES BILLETER ON WINS LIST:  Saul Phillips is in his sixth season as head coach at North Dakota State and is tied with Tom Billeter for fifth place on the school's all-time wins list with a 97-70 record.  Phillips directed NDSU to its first Summit League championship and NCAA Division I tournament appearance in 2009, and was one of 10 finalists for the Hugh Durham Mid-Major Coach of the Year award.  A Bison assistant for three seasons, Phillips came to NDSU from Wisconsin, where he was director of basketball operations for three years under Bo Ryan.  He was an assistant for two seasons each at Milwaukee and Lake Superior State and a graduate assistant at Wayne State in Nebraska for one year.
NDSU All-Time Coaching Victories
1. Erv Inniger, 244-150, 1978-92
2. B.C. Bentson, 169-207, 1949-65
3. Bob Lowe, 141-102, 1933-46
4. Tim Miles, 99-71, 2001-07
5. Saul Phillips, 97-70, 2007-present
     Tom Billeter, 97-50, 1992-97

NDSU COACHING HISTORY:  NDSU's four previous head coaches have all gone on to bigger jobs and are all still actively coaching.  Tim Miles (2001-07) went to Colorado State and is now the head coach at Nebraska.  Greg McDermott (2000-01) went to Northern Iowa and Iowa State, and is now the head coach at Creighton.  Ray Giacoletti (1997-00) went to Eastern Washington and Utah and is currently an assistant at Gonzaga.  Tom Billeter (1992-97) went to St. John's and Texas A&M as an assistant coach and is now in his 10th year as head coach at Division II Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D.

BISON IN THE PROS:  Five former Bison have played professional basketball since the school began Division I play in 2004-05.  Forward Andre Smith (2005-07) is playing in Russia, guard Ben Woodside (2005-09) is in Turkey, and forward Michael Tveidt (2007-11) is in Spain.  Forward Brett Winkelman (2005-09) played in Italy and guard Mike Nelson (2005-09) played with the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the NBA Development League.

FIVE SUMMIT TEAMS IN POSTSEASON: A record five Summit League men's basketball teams made postseason appearances last March, eclipsing the high of three teams in 1990 and tying for third-most among mid-major leagues in 2012.  South Dakota State was in the NCAA, Oral Roberts made the NIT, North Dakota State and Western Illinois were in the College Basketball Invitational, and Oakland played in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.

THE SUMMIT LEAGUE:  This is North Dakota State's sixth year in The Summit League after reclassifying from Division II and spending three seasons as a Division I independent.  Other members are Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI); University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC); University of Nebraska-Omaha; Oakland University in Rochester, Mich.; University of South Dakota; South Dakota State University; and Western Illinois University.  The Summit League dropped from 10 teams to nine this year with the addition of Omaha from Division II and the departure of Southern Utah to the Big Sky Conference and Oral Roberts to the Southland Conference.  The Summit League will be back to 10 members with the addition of Denver in 2013-14.

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