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Bison Blow Out Denver 83-48 for Spot in Summit League Championship Game

by Chris Tubbs

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KWSN) – The North Dakota State men's basketball team built a 42-15 halftime lead and rolled to an 83-48 victory over Denver in a Summit League Tournament semifinal at Sioux Falls Arena on Monday, March 10. The top-seeded Bison will play second-seeded Fort Wayne in the championship game Tuesday at 8 p.m. on ESPN2. The Mastodons posted a 64-60 victory over defending champion South Dakota State in the second semifinal.

The 35-point victory set a Summit League Tournament record for margin of victory in semifinal games. The previous record of 32 points stood for 25 years.

NDSU (24-6) shot 62.5 percent for the game and a blistering 73.9 percent (17-for-23) in the first half. Senior guard Taylor Braun scored 28 points to lead all players, including 18 in the first half on a perfect 6-for-6 effort before halftime.

Denver (16-15) shot 41.3 percent for the game and was led by 13 points from Cam Griffin. The Pioneers were 1-of-13 from beyond the arc.

NDSU senior TrayVonn Wright scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and senior Mike Felt added nine points off the bench with three three-pointers.

The Bison committed just seven turnovers in the game and posted a 32-21 rebounding advantage.

Wright opened the game with a vicious one-handed putback slam, and NDSU never trailed in the contest, racing out to a 33-11 lead following a fadeaway Braun three-pointer at the shot clock buzzer just over 15 minutes into the game. The Bison led by as many as 43 points at 77-34 with five minutes remaining.

NDSU's 73.9 percent first-half shooting percentage was the highest for any half of a Summit League Tournament game since Green Bay shot 77.3 percent in the second half of a 1994 semifinal against Cleveland State. Denver's 15 first-half points were the lowest for any half in a Summit League Tournament game since Kansas City had 15 in a 2003 semifinal against Valparaiso.

NDSU will appear in its second consecutive league championship game and third in six years. 

Courtesy: North Dakota State University