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Forum staff reports, Published February 09 2013

Bison men clip IPFW

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The North Dakota State men’s basketball team won a back-and-forth Summit League men’s basketball game 58-54 against Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne on Saturday. And one play in particular caught NDSU head coach Saul Phillips’ attention.

With the Bison trying to preserve the victory and leading 57-54, NDSU freshman Brett VandenBergh found himself at the free-throw line with 5.4 seconds left.

VandenBergh missed the free throw on the front end of the one-and-one that would have made it a two-possession game.

Phillips had aligned the other four Bison players on the court at halfcourt to prepare to defend against a buzzer-beating shot attempt if VandenBergh missed. Facing a 1-on-4 battle for the rebound after the missed free throw, VandenBergh managed to deflect the ball off of an IPFW player and out of bounds. The Bison retained possession and made a free throw on the ensuing play to secure the victory.

Phillips called VandenBergh’s effort “the play of the game.”

“He made a play that won the game for us,” Phillips said. “It was just a flat-out hustle play. I think it summed up this weekend pretty good.”

Bison junior forward Marshall Bjorklund applauded VandenBergh for keeping his head in the game despite the missed shot.

“We’re not going to sit there and moan and be upset about ourselves after missing a free throw like that,” Bjorklund said. “He went after it just like had made it.”

Bjorklund had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Bison. Mike Felt added nine second-half points, including three key free throws down the stretch.

“IPFW likes to pack it into the paint,” Bjorklund said. “We had a couple other guys step up. Mike Felt and Brett VandenBergh stepped up down the stretch.”

The Bison took the lead with just more than 12 minutes to go on a VandenBergh 3-pointer. That shot made it 38-36. They would never trail again.

IPFW tied it at 42-42 before NDSU pulled ahead one last time.

Lawrence Alexander scored a team-high 20 points for the Bison.

“Lawrence Alexander was brilliant,” Phillips said. “He really hit a lot of big shots for us.”

NDSU (19-6): Alexander 8-17 1-2 20, Brown 1-5 6-8 8, VandenBergh 1-3 0-2 3, Wright 1-7 2-2 4, Bjorklund 6-9 2-4 14, Felt 2-6 3-4 9, Zastrow 0-0 0-0 0, Kading 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-47 14-22 58.

IPFW (10-16): Bland 0-2 0-0 0, Gaines 6-10 3-4 16, Jacobo 4-10 3-4 14, Kibiloski 2-4 0-0 6, Reed 0-3 2-4 2, McCray 3-4 0-0 9, Hines 1-3 3-4 5, Edwards 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 17-37 11-16 54.

Halftime: NDSU 26-25. 3-Point Goals: NDSU 6-18 (Alexander 3-5, Felt 2-5, VandenBergh 1-3, Brown 0-1, Wright 0-4), IPFW 9-16 (Jacobo 3-4, McCray 3-4, Kibiloski 2-4, Gaines 1-4). Rebounds: NDSU 30 (Bjorklund 10), IPFW 24 (Jacobo 5). Assists: NDSU 6 (Alexander, Brown 2), IPFW 11 (Gaines, Kibiloski 3). Total Fouls: NDSU 14, IPFW 17. A: 1,176.