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Forum staff reports, Published January 17 2013

Bison men cruise in first game after losing leading scorer

INDIANAPOLIS – A 22-0 run that started late in the first half and stretched into the second half propelled North Dakota State to a 78-40 victory against Indiana Purdue-Indianapolis in Summit League men’s basketball Thursday.

It was NDSU’s first game since leading scorer Taylor Braun broke a bone in his right foot during Saturday’s win against Oakland (Mich.).

Braun will be out four to six weeks.

“It was really a stressful week, but that was as good a performance as I’ve seen in a long time,” NDSU head coach Saul Phillips said.

TrayVonn Wright had 16 points and seven rebounds to lead the Bison. Lawrence Alexander added 11 points and Jordan Aaberg had 10.

“It’s hard to single out one guy,” Phillips said. “They just kind of took turns throwing punches.”

Back-to-back 3-pointers capped NDSU’s 22-0 run early in the second half. That made the Bison lead 46-18.

The wide margin gave Phillips an opportunity to let some bench players play extended minutes.

Among those players to garner increased playing time was freshman Brett VandenBergh. He played a career-high 27 minutes Thursday, scoring six points.

“We played one of the best games we’ve played as a team,” VandenBergh said. “And it was a lot of fun out there, too.”

Phillips thinks many of his players had extra motivation Thursday to prove the team could succeed without Braun.

“I know they did. I absolutely know they did,” Phillips said. “They’ve heard people talk like, ‘Oh, it’s too bad. You were having a great season.’ Hey, we’re still playing.”

NDSU (16-3, 7-0 Summit): Wright 6-9 0-0 16, Bjorklund 4-5 0-0 8, Felt 2-6 0-0 6, Alexander 4-6 1-2 11, Brown 3-4 1-2 7, Newell 1-2 0-0 2, Zastrow 1-3 2-2 5, Mauch 1-4 0-0 3, VandenBergh 2-5 0-0 6, Kading 2-3 0-0 4, Aaberg 5-7 0-0 10. Totals 31-54 4-6 78.

IUPUI (6-15, 1-6): Gaines 1-2 0-0 2, Gibbs 1-4 0-0 2, Shanklin 0-5 0-0 0, Rice 0-4 1-2 1, Esposito 2-7 0-0 6, Loepker 2-4 0-0 4, Hubert 2-4 2-3 8, Kitcoff 0-2 0-0 0, Patton 6-13 5-8 17. Totals 14-45 8-13 40.

Halftime: NDSU 38, IUPUI 18. 3-Point Goals: NDSU 12-23 (Wright 4-6, VandenBergh 2-2, Alexander 2-3, Felt 2-5, Zastrow 1-2, Mauch 1-4, Newell 0-1), IUPUI 4-17 (Esposito 2-3, Hubert 2-4, Loepker 0-1, Kitcoff 0-2, Rice 0-3, Shanklin 0-4). Rebounds: NDSU 35 (Wright 7), IUPUI 22 (Gibbs 6). Assists: NDSU 22 (Zastrow 5), IUPUI 10 (Esposito 4). Total Fouls: NDSU 13, IUPUI 10. A: 1,312.