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Forum staff reports, Published January 19 2013

Bison men suffer first conference loss

MACOMB, Ill. – Western Illinois’ defense helped launch the Leathernecks into a tie for first place in the Summit League men’s basketball standings.

North Dakota State shot just 34 percent from the floor and attempted only five free throws on Saturday. That performance led to the Bison’s first conference loss of the season, as they fell 50-42 to the Leathernecks.

“They’re the first team all year – including Indiana and Minnesota – to turn us into a purely jump-shooting team,” NDSU head coach Saul Phillips said.

“(The Leathernecks) held serve tonight. They beat a good team at home.”

The Bison led 20-13 at halftime. But Western Illinois went on a 12-0 run in the middle of the second half to grab a 27-24 lead.

The Bison tied the game 29-29, but never led again after the Western Illinois run.

The Leathernecks made 10 of their last 12 free throws to secure the victory.

“They did a good job of denying the post,” Phillips said of WIU. “They did a good job of bringing help.”

Mike Felt scored a team-high 10 points for the Bison.

NDSU was without Kory Brown for much of the game due to illness.

N. DAKOTA ST. (16-4, 7-1 Summit): Wright 3-10 0-0 7, Kading 1-2 1-1 3, Bjorklund 4-7 1-2 9, Felt 4-13 0-0 10, Alexander 3-13 2-2 8, Zastrow 1-2 0-0 3, Brown 1-2 0-0 2, VandenBergh 0-0 0-0 0, Aaberg 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-50 4-5 42.

W. ILLINOIS (15-4, 7-1): Houpt 0-3 5-6 5, Link 1-7 2-2 4, Parks 1-2 4-8 6, Clark III 4-7 3-4 13, Roberts-Burnett 5-8 1-3 11, Foster 1-1 0-0 3, McAvoy III 1-4 5-9 7, Ochereobia 0-2 1-4 1. Totals 13-34 21-36 50.

Halftime: NDSU 20, WI 13. 3-Point Goals: NDSU 4-20 (Felt 2-6, Zastrow 1-2, Wright 1-5, Kading 0-1, Brown 0-1, Alexander 0-5), WI 3-7 (Clark III 2-3, Foster 1-1, McAvoy III 0-1, Houpt 0-2). Rebounds: NDSU 34 (Alexander, Wright 7), WI 26 (Link, Parks 5). Assists: NDSU 9 (Alexander 4), WI 8 (Parks 3). Total Fouls: NDSU 20, WI 7. Technical: Wright. A: 3,973.