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Jason Haddix / Special to The Forum, Published January 11 2014

Bison men's basketball team cruises past IUPUI

INDIANAPOLIS – North Dakota State did what was needed to rid itself of the bad taste of defeat – replace it with the sweetness of victory.

A late first-half run propelled the Bison to an 87-64 win over Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

NDSU improves its overall record to 12-5 and evens its Summit League mark at 1-1.

“It beats 0-2,” NDSU coach Saul Phillips said. “We executed much better, and I think we would have had a much better chance of winning at Fort Wayne if we would have executed like we did tonight. We were efficient and awfully fun to watch.”

IUPUI (5-14, 0-2) held its largest lead at 19-14, when Mike Felt drained 3-point buckets on back-to-back processions. The two buckets gave the 6-foot-3 senior guard 229 3-pointers for his career, which is third all-time at NDSU.

“I wanted to make an impact coming off the bench and give my team a spark,” Felt said. “That is what they ask of me, and that is what I want to do for my team.”

That triggered a 15-0 run in which Felt accounted for nine of the points on 2 of 2 shooting and a perfect 3-for-3 from the free-throw line.

The Bison got 22 points from their bench, led by Felt’s 12.

While Felt dominated that two-minute spurt to get the lead, it was senior TrayVonn Wright who stole the remainder of the show with his career-high 24 points to keep the Jaguars at bay.

“Cuts to the rim,” Wright said led to his 17-point explosion in the second half. “We pushed it in transition a lot. They played zone (defense), so cuts to the rim and getting open spots in the zone and knocking down shot.”

Wright’s performance came with the 6-foot-7 senior having suffered a bilateral ankle injury in the loss to IPFW when he landed on an official.

“During the game, at the beginning of course, they were stiff,” Wright said. “Once the game got going, the adrenaline starts pumping, and you forget about it.”

Guard Taylor Braun hit a cutting Wright, who promptly threw down a thunderous dunk for his 24th point, besting his previous career-high of 23, to start the Bison’s 16-3 scoring run, their second significant run of the night.

On a day when everything seemed to be clicking for the Bison, Kory Brown stepped his game up to reach his first career double-double with a season-high 11 points and career-high 10 rebounds.

His contributions were not just on the offensive side of the ball, but on the defensive end of the floor as well. The 6-foot-3 guard held IUPUI’s leading scorer Ian Chiles, who averaged 17.6 points, to just eight, his lowest total of the season.

Braun added 16 points and Marshall Bjorkund scored 12 on a day when Bjorklund – the nation’s most efficient shooter – was held to 45.4 percent from the field, his lowest of the season.

After an IUPUI timeout, the Jaguars roared back with a 12-6 run to close out the first half and trail the Bison 35-31.

That closing momentum was not carried over for the Jaguars as the Bison flourished in the second half with a 52-33 scoring advantage.

“It has to be defense,” Wright gave the credit to. “We got like five or seven stops in a row and then we started finishing around the hoop.”

Wright’s point was clearly demonstrated with points in the paint, an area the Bison dominated late with a 42-22 advantage after narrowly winning the battle 18-14 in the first half.

“We had a lot of guys play a lot of minutes,” Phillips said. “We got significant contributions from a bunch of different people.”

NDSU (12-5, 1-1 Summit): Wright 10-14 1-1 24, Bjorklund 5-11 2-3 12, Alexander 1-2 0-0 2, Brown 5-11 1-1 11, Braun 5-10 4-4 16, Newell 0-0 0-0 0, Felt 3-9 3-3 12, Dupree 1-3 0-0 2, Kading 1-1 2-2 4, Werner 0-0 0-0 0, Aaberg 1-2 2-2 4. Totals 32-63 15-16 87.

IUPUI (5-14, 0-2): Gibbs 3-6 7-8 14, Patton 4-10 3-4 11, Najee 2-6 0-0 4, Chiles 4-11 0-1 8, Barksdale 5-11 4-4 14, Busby 1-3 0-0 2, Ross 0-0 0-0 0, James 0-0 0-0 0, Stanbeck 1-1 0-0 2, Ray 1-2 0-0 3, Hubert 2-4 0-0 6. Totals 23-54 14-17 64.

Half: NDSU 35, IUPUI 31. 3-point goals: NDSU 8-14 (Felt 3-6, Wright 3-3, Braun 2-4, Brown 0-1), IUPUI 4-12 (Hubert 2-3, Gibbs 1-2, Ray 1-2, Barksdale 0-2, Najee 0-1, Chiles 0-1, Busby 0-1). Total fouls: NDSU 16, IUPUI 13. Rebounds: NDSU 38 (Brown 10), IUPUI 26 (Patton, Najee 6). Assists: NDSU 14 (Alexander, Braun 4), IUPUI 9 (Hubert 3). Steals: NDSU 5 (Braun 2), IUPUI 1 (Barksdale 1). Turnovers: NDSU 5, IUPUI 8. A: 778.