No. 2 Seed Bison Looking for Summit League Tournament Title

gobison.com The Tournament: The No. 2-seeded North Dakota State men's basketball team (20-9, 12-4 Summit League) will play No. 7 seed Denver (12-17, 6-10 Summit) in the quarterfinals of the Summit League Tournament on Saturday, Mar. 7, at 8:30 p.m. inside the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. The winner will play the winner of Oral Roberts-IUPUI in the second semifinal on Monday night.
Mar. 7 vs. (7) Denver 8:30 p.m.
Mar. 9 Semifinal 8:30 p.m.
Mar. 10 Championship 8 p.m.

Viewing Options: All quarterfinal and semifinal games of the Summit League Tournament will be broadcast on Midco Sports Network and be available on ESPN3 and ESPN Full Court. Tuesday's championship game will be on ESPN2.

Radio: Scott Miller and Jeremy Jorgenson will call the games on KFGO-AM 790 of Fargo. Free audio streaming will be available at GoBison.com/allaccess. If the Bison advance to the semifinals, KXMR-AM 710 of Bismarck will carry any subsequent games in addition to KFGO.

What's at Stake: The winner of the Summit League Championship receives an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. NDSU is looking for its third league tournament title and third NCAA Tournament appearance in school history.

About Denver: The Pioneers are 12-17 overall and 6-10 in The Summit League this season after being picked to finish second in the preseason league poll.
Senior guard Brett Olson leads Denver with 13.6 points per game, and senior Cam Griffin is averaging 11.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest. Junior forward Marcus Byrd is shooting 45.5 percent from three-point range for the Pioneers. As a team, Denver is shooting 48.4 percent to rank 14th in the nation.

The Series with Denver: Saturday will be the 10th meeting between North Dakota State and Denver dating back to the 1993-94 season. The Bison hold a 7-2 advantage in the all-time series after winning two of three games last season and sweeping both regular season meetings this season. NDSU won 61-54 in overtime in Fargo on Jan. 29 and 73-69 in overtime at Denver on Feb. 12.

Against Denver: Lawrence Alexander is averaging 24.5 points per game and shooting 9-of-14 (64 percent) from three-point range against the Pioneers this year.

Title Talk: NDSU won its third Summit League regular season title this year after earning the league crown outright in the 2008-09 and 2013-14 seasons. The Bison have won back-to-back regular season conference titles for the first time since the 1940-41 and 1941-42 seasons in the North Central Conference.

Another 20-Win Season: NDSU has reached the 20-win mark five times in its 11-year Division I history.

Bison in Sioux Falls: NDSU is 7-4 all-time in Sioux Falls at the Summit League Tournament.

Year Record Result
2009 3-0 Defeated Oakland in championship
2010 0-1 Eliminated by Oral Roberts in quarterfinals
2011 0-1 Eliminated by Oral Roberts in quarterfinals
2012 0-1 Eliminated by Western Illinois in quarterfinals
2013 2-1 Eliminated by South Dakota State in finals
2014 2-0 Defeated IPFW in championship

Bison in the Postseason: North Dakota State is seeking a trip to its third NCAA tournament and its fifth postseason appearance as a Division I program. The Bison played in the NCAA Tournament in 2009 and 2014 and made appearances in the College Basketball Invitational in 2012 and 2013.

Player & Coach of the Year: Lawrence Alexander was selected as The Summit League Men's Basketball Player of the Year, and NDSU first-year head coach David Richman earned the league's Coach of the Year award. Redshirt freshman A.J. Jacobson was named honorable mention All-Summit League, as well as earning a spot as the lone freshman on the All-Newcomer Team. Sophomore forward Dexter Werner won the league's Sixth Man of the Year honor.
Alexander becomes NDSU's second consecutive Summit League Player of the Year and third overall, joining Taylor Braun (2013-14) and Ben Woodside (2008-09). Richman's honor is the third Coach of the Year award claimed by NDSU in the last seven years, after Saul Phillips won in 2008-09 and 2013-14.

Up to Sixth: With 27 points in the win over Fort Wayne on Feb. 21, Lawrence Alexander moved from eighth to sixth on the NDSU all-time scoring list, passing Taylor Braun (2010-14) and Steve Saladino (1972-76). At 1,684 points Alexander needs 11 points to pass Jeff Askew (1979-83) for fifth on the scoring list.

Lawrence Alexander's National Rankings (as of Mar. 5)
3rd in minutes per game (38.6)
6th in 3-point field goal percentage (44.5%)
10th in 3-pointers made (93)
10th in 3-pointers made per game (3.21)
27th in total points (553)
27th in points per game (19.1)

Three-Point Improvement: The Bison have seen a dramatic improvement in their three-point shooting over the last two months. On Dec. 24, NDSU was shooting 35 percent from beyond the arc and ranked 137th in the nation. On Feb. 24, NDSU was shooting 39.5 percent and ranked 24th in the country.

Heat Check: Over the last five games, redshirt freshman A.J. Jacobson is averaging 16.0 points and shooting 14-for-28 (50 percent) from three-point range.

Three-Year Plan: The Bison have posted three straight 20-win seasons for just the second time in school history. NDSU won 20-plus games for four straight seasons from 1993-97. NDSU's 70 wins over the last three seasons are the most in school history in a three-year span.

Starts Record: With a start on Saturday, Lawrence Alexander would pass Marshall Bjorklund (2010-14) for the NDSU record with 128 career games started. Mike Felt (2009-14) holds the NDSU career record for games played at 132.

Freshman Numbers: A.J. Jacobson is the league's top scoring freshman, both overall and in league play. He ranks eighth in the league in three-point field goal percentage at 44.3 percent, and stands at No. 2 in free throw percentage (89.4 percent) in league play. Jacobson made multiple three-pointers in 11 of 16 league games.

Off the Bench: Sophomore forward Dexter Werner has nine games of 7+ rebounds this seasons. He has scored in double figures 12 times.

Only One: Lawrence Alexander is the only player in NDSU history with at least 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists in his career.

Threes Record: With one three-pointer on Feb. 19 against IUPUI, Lawrence Alexander set the NDSU single-season record for treys. Alexander broke the mark held by Ross Manson, who made 85 three-pointers in the 1993-94 season.

Top Freshman: A.J. Jacobson leads all Summit League freshmen in scoring at 11.5 points per game. Jacobson is on pace to score the second-most points by a Bison freshman since 2006, behind only Lawrence Alexander.

Wins Record: Lawrence Alexander owns the most wins ever by a Bison basketball player. He has 87 wins in his career, passing the previous record of 82 held by Mike Felt (2009-14). NDSU is 87-40 during Alexander's career.

Best Around: Alexander leads The Summit League in points per game (19.1), three-pointers made (93) and minutes per game (38.6).

Taking Care: The Bison are averaging 9.8 turnovers per game this season – an average which ranks them eighth-best in the nation. NDSU is also ranked 12th in Division I for fewest fouls committed per game at 14.9.