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Hayden Goethe, Published November 12 2012

Missed opportunities in first half cost Bison

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – With just more than seven minutes left in the first half of Monday’s college basketball game at top-ranked Indiana, Mike Felt’s jump shot pulled North Dakota State within 24-18.

The Bison were still in it at that point, yet Bison forward Marshall Bjorklund couldn’t help but feel that fewer missed opportunities on offense would have made the game a lot closer in the first half.

“I think there were seven or eight finishes that we didn’t put in,” Bjorklund said following the 87-61 loss. “If we would have had those, it would have been a lot closer.”

Also hampering the Bison were multiple traveling violations in the first half. The Hoosiers managed a 10-4 edge in points off turnovers in the first half as well.

Despite the first-half misses by NDSU, Indiana coach Tom Crean felt that the Bison tried to manage the situation.

“We were playing against a team that plays with toughness,” Crean said. “It’s an extremely well-coached team.”

Indiana run in second half dooms Bison

NDSU pulled within 10 points early in the second half at 48-38. But the Hoosiers went on a run to put the game away. And that run was sparked by a couple of unlikely sources.

Bench players Jeremy Hollowell and Remy Abell combined for all eight points on an 8-0 Hoosiers run for a 56-38 lead.

“I don’t have any idea (when I’m going in),” Abell said. “You can still play the game (from) the bench. So when you get in the game, you know what to expect.”

After a 30-second timeout, NDSU pulled within 58-43. But the Hoosiers followed with five straight points to extend their lead to 63-43. That Indiana run was sparked by 7-footer Cody Zeller’s dunk and a Zeller block that led to a 3-pointer by Will Sheehey.

“I thought we did well in the second half,” Zeller said. “We still need to get more defensive action, more deflections. We gotta play two halves worth of defense.”

Zeller, NDSU’s Wright get tangled up

Bison forward TrayVonn Wright drew some jeers from the Indiana crowd after getting tangled up with Zeller – The Sporting News’ Preseason Player of the Year – for a rebound in the second half.

Zeller was trying to gain possession of an offensive rebound when he got wrapped up with Wright. Wright tried to wrestle the ball away from Zeller as a referee blew his whistle, and Zeller went tumbling to the ground.

“(Zeller) is pretty tough,” Crean said. “When you get tangled up and go into his body, he gets tougher and tougher.”

Zeller said that his team has to be prepared for all sorts of different playing styles from their opponents this season.

“They’re going to try and out-physical me. Out-physical other guys,” Zeller said. “You just got to keep your composure.”

Zeller finished with 22 points and nine rebounds.

Jump shots

Indiana called attention to the attendance of former NDSU men’s basketball coach Erv Inniger prior to the game’s start. Inniger played for the Hoosiers, helping them to a Big Ten title in 1967. … Indiana also paid tribute to the late Bill Garrett at halftime. The Hoosiers are marking the 65th anniversary of Garrett breaking the Big Ten men’s basketball color barrier in 1947. … The victory for Crean evened his record at Indiana to 84-84. He is in his fifth season after winning only six games in his first season. … Another Indiana tradition occurred when Bison freshman Kory Brown fouled out. The Indiana student section kept repeating, “Left, right, left, right …” as Brown walked toward the bench. When he finally reached his chair, they yelled “Sit down.”

Readers can reach Forum Assistant Sports Editor

Hayden Goethe at (701) 241-5558