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Jeff Kolpack, Published November 29 2012

3-point blitz leads North Dakota State over Nebraska-Omaha

FARGO – Thursday was the Summit League debut of the Nebraska-Omaha men’s basketball team. It was North Dakota State’s Taylor Braun, however, who not only cut the ribbon, but sliced and diced the Mavericks all over the court.

The junior tied a school record with seven 3-point field goals and the Bison opened league play in impressive fashion. The 95-51 victory before 2,576 fans at the Bison Sports Arena came on the heels of a blistering performance from the 3-point line: NDSU was 15 of 25. That was one away from the school record.

“I think everyone was just glad to be back at the BSA and not be on the road anymore,” Braun said.

Omaha joined the Summit this year in the middle of a Division I reclassification, and NDSU showed the Mavericks it may be a long road before they contend for a title.

“Once a guy like that gets it going, he’s hard to stop,” Omaha head coach Derrin Hansen said of Braun.

For a while, it looked like the minimum requirement to hit a 3-point field goal for NDSU was to be at least 6 feet, 7 inches tall. Braun, TrayVonn Wright and 6-8 center Chris Kading combined to go 13 of 16 from 3-point range.

Braun was 7 of 9, finishing with 26 points and nine rebounds. Wright was 2 of 4 and Kading 2 of 3. Braun, who had eight 3-pointers on the year coming in, tied the single-game record held by junior guard Mike Felt.

“Coming off the road trip, I wasn’t satisfied with how I was shooting the ball,” Braun said. “I put a little extra work into it this morning. Just got back to the basics.”

It was a matter of time, said NDSU head coach Saul Phillips, before Braun’s shooting touch returned.

“It’s the law of averages, and his confidence never wavered,” Phillips said.

There were plenty of other laws of basketball that hurt the Mavericks.

Example A: Seconds after blocking an Omaha shot on defense, Braun canned his fourth straight 3-pointer as part of a nine-point run to close the half. It ended with NDSU shooting 55 percent, forcing 10 Mavericks turnovers and leading 49-30.

“That really changed the complexion of the game,” Phillips said.

Wright started the second half with a field goal and another 3-pointer and the rout was on. The Bison finished with 58 percent shooting and held Omaha under 40 percent.

They hit the offensive-defensive daily double.

“When you shoot the ball like that, you’re probably not going to lose and when you defend like that, you’re probably not going to lose,” Phillips said. “And when you do both, you have good night. The 95 was fun for the fans, but I like the 51.”

UNO (2-6 overall, 0-1 Summit): Welhouse 1-5 0-0 2, Karhoff 3-10 0-0 6, Phillips 3-9 2-3 8, Steffensmeier 0-0 0-0 0, Simmons 6-11 0-0 14, Carter 0-2 2-2 2, Coleman 1-2 0-0 2, Tyus 0-2 0-0 0, Hagerbaumer 4-5 1-2 9, Egli 2-3 0-0 6, Krych 1-4 0-0 2. Totals: 21-53 5-7 51.

NDSU (6-2, 1-0): Wright 6-10 0-0 14, Bjorklund 6-6 2-2 14, Alexander 5-10 2-2 13, Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Braun 9-16 1-2 26, Felt 1-4 0-0 3, Kading 3-6 2-2 10, Aaberg 3-6 1-1 7, Newell 1-1 0-0 2, Zastrow 2-3 0-0 6. Totals: 36-62 8-9 95.

Halftime: NDSU 49, UNO 30. Total fouls: UNO 9, NDSU . Rebounds: UNO 19 (Phillps 4); NDSU 39 (Braun 9). 3-point goals: UNO 4-11 (Welhouse 0-2, Phillips 0-1, Simmons 2-3, Coleman 0-1, Carter 0-1, Egli 2-3); NDSU 15-25 (Wright 2-4, Alexander 1-3, Braun 7-9, Felt 1-4, Kading 2-3, Zastrow 2-2). Assists: UNO 10 (Carter 3); NDSU 18 (Brown 4). Turnovers: UNO 16 (Tyus 5); NDSU 12 (Bjorklund, Alexander 3). A-2,576.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia