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Tim Perera / Special to The Forum, Published February 15 2014

Braun's big game carries Bison to men's basketball win against Omaha

RALSTON, Neb. – Taylor Braun had a little extra motivation heading into Saturday’s North Dakota State men’s basketball game against Nebraska-Omaha.

At a news conference earlier in the week, Omaha coach Derrin Hansen couldn’t recall the name of the Summit League Preseason Player of the Year.

Braun made sure the last game of his career against Hansen’s team would leave a lasting impression as he scored 31 points on 12 of 16 shooting and hauled in 15 rebounds in a 75-59 road win for the Bison.

“I had a little extra incentive today,” Braun said.

“Coach (Saul) Phillips was telling me that their coach couldn’t remember who I was, so I had to make sure that they know who I am and to don’t disrespect me,” he added while chuckling.

Phillips said his reminder to Braun about Hansen’s failure to remember his name was mostly in jest.

“I know for a fact (Hansen) knew who he was. I said it jokingly,” Phillips said.

“Taylor likes to stir the pot a little bit. He’s got a little devil on his shoulder sometimes,” he added.

In addition to leading the team in points and rebounds, Braun also led all players with five assists and was 4 of 5 from 3-point range.

“I definitely got into a little bit of a zone there,” Braun said.

Hansen said he didn’t think he would have trouble recalling Braun’s name in the future.

“I’ll remember his name,” Hansen said.

Lawrence Alexander scored 11 points, TrayVonn Wright added another 10 and Kory Brown had eight more for NDSU.

Phillips said Braun’s play ignited the team in the second half as the Bison pulled away down the stretch in what was just a two-point game 2 minutes, 45 seconds into the second half.

But Phillips added that defense was key as NDSU held the Mavericks to just 31.7 percent (19 of 60) for the game.

Omaha entered the contest fourth nationally in possessions per 40 minutes with 74.0 and 21st in the country in scoring with 80.7 points per game.

“He really set a tone for us. He looked like the best player in the league by a lot tonight,” Phillips said of Braun.

“But defensively, holding them to 59 points and 32 percent, that’s a pretty heady effort. I thought we did a pretty good job of leaning on them tonight,” he added.

The Bison led 36-31 at the half behind 13 points and nine rebounds by Braun.

After a front-loaded road schedule, North Dakota State (20-6 overall, 9-2 Summit League) finds itself in first place in the conference with its final three games at home beginning with South Dakota State next weekend.

Phillips said he and his team are thrilled to take the momentum off the road back to the Bison Sports Arena to close things out.

“The road was good to us, but I’m glad we’re not going back out there,” Phillips said.

NDSU: TrayVonn Wright, 4-11 2-2 10, Marshall Bjorklund 3-5 1-2 7, Lawrence Alexander 4-13 2-2 11, Kory Brown 3-4 2-2 8, Taylor Braun 12-16 3-3 31, Fred Newell 0-0 0-0 0, Mike Felt 0-0 0-0 0, Carlin Dupree 2-4 1-2 5, Brett Vandenbergh 0-0 0-0 0, Chris Kading 1-4 1-2 3, Dexter Werner 0-1 0-0 0, Jordan Aaberg 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 29-59 (49.2 percent) 12-15 (80.0) 75.

UNO: Mike Rostampour 2-303-3 7, John Karhoff 7-18 2-3, Devin Patterson 2-12 0-0 5 , CJ Carter 3-8 5-6 12, Justin Simmons 0-6 2-3 2, Alex Phillips 0-1 2-2 2, Caleb Steffensmeier 1-2 0-0 2, Marcus Tyus 2-6 2-2 6, Simon Krych 1-1 0-0 2, Matt Hagerbaumer 1-3 2-2 4. Totals: 19-60 (31.7 percent) 18-21 (85.7).

Half: NDSU 36, UNO 31. 3-point goals: NDSU 5-17 (Wright 0-5, Alexander 1-4, Braun 4-5, Dupree 0-1, Kading 0-2). UNO 3-18 (Karhoff 0-1, Patterson 1-5, Carter 1-4, Simmons 0-3, Phillips 0-1, Steffensmeier 1-2, Tyus 0-2). Fouled out: UNO, Rostampour. Technical Fouls: None. Rebounds: NDSU 44 (Braun 15), UNO 29 (Hagerbaumer 6). Assists: NDSU 12 (Braun 5), UNO 14 (Rostampour, Karhoff, Patterson, Carter, Phillips, Tyus 2). Total fouls: NDSU 18, UNO 14. Turnovers: NDSU 15, UNO 12. A: 2,276