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Men's Basketball Plays at Oakland Thursday, Fort Wayne Saturday

Courtesy: NDSU Athletic Media Relations
Release: February 05, 2013

THIS WEEK:  The first-place North Dakota State men's basketball team (18-5, 9-2) plays fourth-place Oakland (11-13, 6-4) at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, Feb. 7, at the Athletics Center O'rena (3,000) in Rochester, Mich., and seventh-place Fort Wayne (10-14, 3-7) at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Gates Sports Center (2,000) in Fort Wayne, Ind.  Live video and live stats will be available on OUGrizzlies.com and GoMastodons.com.

LISTEN:  KFGO-AM 790 of Fargo and Bison Radio Network affiliate KLTC-AM 1460 of Dickinson will broadcast live with KFGO's Scott Miller calling the play-by-play.  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 14th meeting between North Dakota State and Oakland dating back to 2004-05.  OU leads the series 8-5, but NDSU has won three straight including last month's 73-65 victory in Fargo.  TrayVonn Wright had career highs of 20 points and five blocks, and Lawrence Alexander added 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists for the Bison in that game.  Ryan Bass had 22 points and Travis Bader scored 21 including five 3-pointers for OU.

Saturday will be the 16th meeting between North Dakota State and Fort Wayne dating back to 2005-06.  IPFW leads the series 8-7.  NDSU won 67-55 in Fargo last month behind Taylor Braun's 16 points, Marshall Bjorklund's 14, Alexander's 12 and Wright's 10.  The Bison had a 16-point second half lead trimmed to 57-54 with 4:07 left, but ended the game on a 10-1 run.

ABOUT OAKLAND:  The Golden Grizzlies have won three straight to improve to 11-13 overall and 6-4 in The Summit League including last week's 96-81 victory at Omaha.  Oakland is 7-1 at home this year with its only loss coming Jan. 19 to South Dakota, 97-78.   OU leads the league-only stats in scoring (78.8 ppg), free throws made and attempted per game (16.0-22.6), offensive rebounds (12.1 rpg), and assists (15.5 apg).  The Golden Grizzlies are also second in 3-pointers made and first in 3-point attempts (8.2-22.8).  Travis Bader leads the nation with 4.17 made 3-pointers per game and is fourth in scoring with 21.7 ppg.  OU ranks 43rd nationally in steals (8.7 spg) led by Duke Mondy, who is third in the nation with 3.08 spg and is scoring.  Corey Petros is OU's leading rebounder (8.2 rpg) and second-leading scorer (13.3 ppg), and Mondy is third on the team in scoring (12.0 ppg).  Head coach Greg Kampe (Bowling Green, 1978) has a 501-362 record in his 29th season.

ABOUT FORT WAYNE:  The Mastodons are 10-14 overall and 3-7 in The Summit League after last week's 86-79 loss at Omaha.  IPFW is 2-1 in the Gates Sports Center with wins over Navy and IUPUI and a loss to Western Illinois and will host South Dakota State Thursday at Memorial Coliseum.  Frank Gaines is IPFW's leading scorer with 19.0 points per game, which ranks 26th nationally.  Luis Jacobo averages 10.9 points per game and Mario Hines is the leading rebounder with 5.5 per game.  The Mastodons are second in the league-only stats in offensive rebounds (11.1 rpg) and third in steals (7.7 spg).  Head coach Tony Jasick (Mars Hill, 2000) has a 21-33 record in his second season.

BISON DRAW AKRON IN BRACKETBUSTERS:  North Dakota State will play Akron in the Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, Feb. 22, on ESPN2.  The Zips have won a nation's best 13 games to improve to 17-4 overall and 8-0 in the Mid-American Conference East Division entering Tuesday's home game with Central Michigan.  The matchup will feature two of the top shooters in Division I with Akron 7-footer Zeke Marshall shooting 70.9 percent and NDSU's Marshall Bjorklund shooting 70.7 percent.  NDSU is 2-0 in BracketBusters games with a 77-69 win at Milwaukee in 2009 and last year's 86-73 home win over Western Michigan.  NDSU is 3-2 against Mid-American Conference teams but has not played Akron.  It will be NDSU's first appearance on ESPN2 since the 2009 Summit League championship.

NDSU WINS 10th STRAIGHT HOME GAME:  TrayVonn Wright had 17 points and seven rebounds as North Dakota State won its 10th straight home game 65-46 over South Dakota last Saturday.  Brett VandenBergh made four second-half 3-pointers and finished with a career-high 14 points for the Bison.  Kory Brown scored 10 points and Lawrence Alexander dished out a season-high eight assists for NDSU.  The Bison shot 51 percent from the floor and had a 27-24 edge in total rebounds.  Nate Zastrow made a pair of 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to give North Dakota State a 24-15 halftime lead.  VandenBergh made two 3's on a 10-4 run to start the second half and it was a double-digit game the rest of the way.

BISON TIE SCORING DEFENSE RECORD AGAINST UMKC:  North Dakota State tied a school record for scoring defense with a 71-34 win over Kansas City on Jan. 31.  Mike Felt made four 3-pointers in the second half and scored a game-high 14 points, Marshall Bjorklund scored 12 points and Kory Brown had a career-high 12 points for North Dakota State.  It was the fewest points allowed against a four-year school since 1950.  The Bison also beat NAIA member Jamestown College 71-34 in February 2006.  Trinity Hall had nine points for Kansas City, which shot 26 percent and had its lowest scoring output ever in a Summit League game.

BISON 65th IN FIFTH NCAA RPI:  North Dakota State dropped six spots to 65th in the fifth NCAA Rating Percentage Index released Monday, Feb. 3.  NDSU had its highest rating in program history at No. 46 in the first RPI, passing the No. 86 final ranking by the 2009 NCAA tournament team and No. 80 ranking after last season's 10-3 start.  NDSU is the highest-rated Summit League team ahead of South Dakota State (66) and Western Illinois (134).  The Bison were rated 46th, 54th, 53rd and 56th the past four weeks.

BISON 17th IN MID-MAJOR POLL:  North Dakota State is 17th for the second straight week in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 released Monday, Feb. 4.  NDSU's had its highest ranking in program history Jan. 14 when the Bison were No. 10, passing the No. 11 held Jan. 7 and by 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, 14th, 11th,10th, 15th and 17th the past eight weeks.

BRAUN OUT 4-6 WEEKS:  North Dakota State junior Taylor Braun will be out 4-6 weeks with a fracture in his right foot sustained during the second half of the Oakland game Jan. 12.  Braun made 66 consecutive starts dating back to Dec. 30, 2010, and with 991 career points is in line to become the 28th player in school history to score 1,000.  Braun is averaging 12.7 points over 78 career games.  Michael Tveidt (2007-11) was the last 1,000-point scorer at NDSU.

WRIGHT THIRD IN CAREER BLOCKS:  North Dakota State junior TrayVonn Wright is third in NDSU history with 99 career blocks.  Wright blocked a shot in 19 straight games from Nov. 12 to Jan. 19, including a career-high five blocks in the home win over Oakland.

NDSU Career Blocks
1. Jason Wenschlag, 220 (1989-93)
2. Joe Regnier, 146 (1985-89)
3. TrayVonn Wright, 99 (2010-present)

BISON BLOCKING SHOTS AT NEAR-RECORD PACE:  North Dakota State's average of 4.6 blocks per game ranked 56th nationally through Sunday and would be third best in school history.  NDSU has blocked at least four shots in 17 of 23 games with a season-low of one block twice against Kansas City and a season-high nine blocks at Morehead State.

BJORKLUND LEADS NATION IN SHOOTING:  North Dakota State forward Marshall Bjorklund's .707 shooting percentage leads the nation for the sixth straight week in the NCAA Division I statistics through Sunday.  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.  Bjorklund is second among NCAA active career leaders.

NCAA Division I Active Career Leaders, FG%
1. Taylor Smith, Stephen F. Austin - .695
2. Marshall Bjorklund, North Dakota State - .675
3. Jordan Morgan, Michigan - .624
4. Tarik Black, Memphis - .610
5. Cody Zeller, Indiana - .609

SCORING DEFENSE:  North Dakota State ranked ninth nationally through Sunday allowing just 55.3 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 10 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 10 categories in the 16th NCAA statistics report through Sunday, Feb. 3.  Individually, Marshall Bjorklund ranked first in field-goal percentage (.707).

NDSU in the NCAA Stats, all games through Feb. 3
9th - scoring defense (55.3)
16th - FG percentage (.484)
16th - FG percentage defense (.377)
18th - scoring margin (+13.7)
22nd - fewest turnovers per game (11.3)
34th - 3FG percentage (.379)
35th - winning percentage (.783)
40th - assist/turnover ratio (1.22)
45th - fewest personal fouls per game (15.6)
46th - rebound margin (+5.2)

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.

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:  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.

PHILLIPS FOURTH NDSU COACH TO 100:  Saul Phillips is in his sixth season as head coach at North Dakota State and fourth on the school's all-time wins list with a 102-72 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. Chuck Bentson, 169-207, 1949-65
3. Bob Lowe, 141-102, 1933-46
4. Saul Phillips, 102-72, 2007-present

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.

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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