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Eric Peterson, Published November 21 2010

Men's basketball: Freddy’s back, Bison win, Coleman makes first start of year

North Dakota State head coach Saul Phillips wants to have a “completely healthy” Freddy Coleman by the time his team starts its Summit League schedule.

Phillips had to like what he saw Saturday at the Bison Sports Arena.

Coleman scored 13 points, grabbed five rebounds and added six assists. The senior’s performance helped the Bison cruise to a 103-63 victory against Mayville State in nonconference men’s basketball before 1,481 fans.

“That was a big goal going into today was to get Freddy comfortable and I think he did that,” Phillips said. “I was amazed with how efficient he was.”

Coleman missed all of last season with a torn Achilles tendon injury. The 6-foot-3 guard also suffered a knee injury prior to this season that required surgery and sidelined him for a few weeks. Coleman missed the season-opener two Friday’s ago, but has played in NDSU’s past three games.

“He is the heart and soul of our team in so many ways,” Phillips said. “To not have him for as long as we have, it really gives us a shot in the arm as a group, emotionally, and from a talent standpoint on the court, when he’s out there.”

Saturday was Coleman’s first collegiate start. He played a season-high 21 minutes and was 4 of 6 from the field, including 2-for-2 shooting from 3-point range.

“Physically, I’m fine,” Coleman said. “Conditioning-wise, I’m still getting back into it. Playing-wise, I still feel a little rusty … but that’s going to come.”

NDSU scored the first 15 points of the game and its lead never dipped into single digits from that point. The Bison took a 15-0 lead after Eric Carlson scored an inside basket with 16 minutes, 7 seconds to play in the first half.

“They didn’t miss a shot really,” Mayville State head coach Justin Johnson said of NDSU’s fast start. “As a coach, it was just frustrating. I just felt for our guys, too. I think they (NDSU) just played very, very well and we were at the bad end of that.”

Saturday’s contest counted as an exhibition for NAIA Mayville State. However, the game counted on NDSU’s season record.

Phillips liked the way his offense clicked from the outset. The Bison scored 60 points in the first half, shooting 69 percent (22 of 32) from the floor. They were 6 of 9 (67 percent) from 3-point range in the first half.

“I thought our guys did a good job of moving the basketball very well early,” Phillips said. “That was the key for us getting off to a good start. They shared the ball well, they played as team. … It’s another 40 minutes to get better and I think we did get better tonight.”

The Bison had six different players scoring in double figures against the Comets. Freshman guard Taylor Braun led the way, scoring 15 points in 15 minutes off the bench.

“You plug in different people and they bring in different things to the table. That’s the thing, we are just so deep,” Coleman said.

The Bison next game is on the road, a 7 p.m. Wednesday game against the University of Minnesota at Williams Arena. NDSU plays its Summit League game on Dec. 4 at South Dakota State.

“My goal all along is to have a completely healthy Freddy Coleman by the time conference play starts up,” Phillips said. “He’s the one guy on the team that whatever he says goes. Everybody on the team will fall in line behind that guy. He’s got leadership skills that are amazing.”

MAYVILLE STATE (3-1): Edwards 5-8 1-2 13, Aman 2-4 0-1 4, Jiles 1-11 0-0 3, Harris 0-2 1-2 1, Samuels 8-14 6-6 24, Coauette 0-1 0-0 0, Gibson 0-1 0-0 0, Slezak 1-4 0-2 2, Sanchez 0-1 0-0 0, Luate 3-4 0-0 9, Amos 1-1 0-0 2, Greene 2-7 0-1 5, White 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-59 8-14 63.

NDSU (3-1): Tveidt 4-5 1-2 10, Carlson 4-6 2-2 10, Bjorklund 4-4 2-3 10, Coleman 4-6 3-4 13, Lundberg 3-7 0-1 7, Newell 1-2 2-2 5, Felt 2-6 0-2 6, Zastrow 2-7 0-0 6, Braun 4-5 5-5 15, Wright 5-10 3-5 13, Nagel 3-4 2-2 8. Totals 36-62 20-28 103.

Half: NDSU 60, MSU 36. 3-point goals: MSU 9-30 (Edwards 2-4, Jiles 1-8, Harris 0-1, Samuels 2-5, Gibson 0-1, Sanchez 0-1, Luate 3-4, Greene 1-5, White 0-1), NDSU 11-19 (Tveidt 1-2, Coleman 2-2, Lundberg 1-1, Newell 1-1, Felt 2-5, Zastrow 2-5, Braun 2-2, Wright 0-1). Total fouls: MSU 22, NDSU 16. Rebounds: MSU 22 (Edwards 4, Luate 4), NDSU 47 (Bjorklund 6, Wright 6). Assists: MSU 13 (Harris 6), NDSU 25 (Coleman 6). Steals: MSU 7 (Harris 3, Gibson 3), NDSU 12 (Tveidt 3). Turnovers: MSU 19 (Samuels 6), NDSU 14 (Tveidt 3).

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com