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Jeff Kolpack, Published December 17 2010

Bison men's basketball team hangs on for victory against Cal Davis

North Dakota State and California Davis had some contested battles on the football field over the years. Add men’s basketball to that list.

One year after a one-point victory in Davis, the Bison made it two straight in the first-ever meetings between the two programs. The 76-71 victory before 2,355 fans at the Bison Sports Arena went to the last minute.

“I love the way they play,” said Davis head coach Gary Stewart. “Their shot selection is terrific and they have great senior leadership.”

That would be seniors Freddy Coleman and Michael Tveidt. Coleman led the way with 19 points, the second straight game he notched a career high. He had 17 last Saturday against the University of North Dakota.

“It’s just good shot selection, it’s what we practice and it could be anybody,” Coleman said. “Everybody on this team can score.”

At one time known strictly for his defense, Coleman’s offense has come of age after sitting out last season with an Achilles heel injury.

His defense didn’t disappear, either. He took a charge on Davis’ Joe Harden with 1:39 left and the Bison leading 72-69. After both teams misfired, Tveidt got open underneath with 33 seconds remaining for a five-point lead.

The Aggies cut it to 74-71, making it a free-throw shooting contest for NDSU in the last 20 seconds. That’s not been the Bison’s strength recently – they were 13 of 24 against the Aggies after a 15 of 29 performance at UND.

“They should fire the free throw coach, and that’s me,” said head coach Saul Phillips.

“We spent a lot of time on it this week. It’s a virus sometimes and it crops up and doesn’t go away. We have to get better.”

Guard Nate Zastrow was perfect on two free throws at :16 and the Aggies couldn’t convert on the other end. NDSU also got a solid effort in the last five minutes from center Marshall Bjorklund, whose free throw and offensive rebound basket broke a 69-69 tie with 3:11 left.

NDSU improved to 7-3.

The Bison won by a point last year in Davis after trailing 17-2 to start the game. This one had a similar look, only in reverse.

The Bison hit their first four 3-point attempts and opened a quick 15-3 lead before the Aggies realized they were in North Dakota. Davis was coming off a 74-67 loss at UCLA Monday night.

“You can’t get down like that to a good team on the road,” Stewart said. “You can’t get down on any team on the road. We dug ourselves a big hole.”

UCD (4-7): Kurtz 3-4 0-0 7, Payne 5-12 6-6 16, Miller 1-5 0-0 3, Harden 4-7 1-2 9, Sypkens 2-5 0-0 5, Silva 3-3 1-2 9, Les 0-1 0-0 0, Ritchart 6-11 2-2 17, Tiffin 2-3 0-0 5. Totals: 26-51 10-12 71.

NDSU (7-3): Tveidt 6-11 0-0 13, Carlson 7-14 2-4 16, Bjorklund 5-5 4-7 14, Coleman 7-12 2-5 19, Lundberg 2-6 2-4 7, Zastrow 0-1 2-2 2, Braun 1-3 1-2 3, Wright 1-7 0-0 2, Nagel 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 29-59 13-24 76.

Halftime: UCD 39, NDSU 38. Total fouls: UCD 22, NDSU 15. Fouled out: Ritchart, Harden. Rebounds: UCD 27 (Ritchart 7); NDSU 38 (Bjorklund 9). 3-point goals: UCD 9-21 (Kurtz 1-2, Payne 0-3, Miller 1-4, Sypkens 1-2, Silva 2-2, Ritchart 3-6, Tiffin 1-2); NDSU 5-12 (Tveidt 1-2, Coleman 3-5, Lundberg 1-2, Braun 0-1, Wright 0-1, Zastrow 0-1). Assists: UCD 20 (Sypkens 6); NDSU 14 (Carlson 5). Turnovers: UCD 13 (Harden 3); NDSU 12 (Coleman 4). A-2,355.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be heard on the Saturday Morning Sports Show, 9-11 a.m. on WDAY-AM (970). He can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia