Taylor Braun scored 17 points and Mike Felt scored 18 off the bench to lead the North Dakota State men's basketball team to a 78-58 win over Louisiana-Lafayette in the Hilltop Challenge late Saturday, Nov. 12, at War Memorial Gym.
Lawrence Alexander had 16 points, five rebounds, five assists, a block and three steals for North Dakota State, which improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2002. Marshall Bjorklund chipped in 13 points.
NDSU shot the ball well to make up for a 40-28 disadvantage on the glass. The Bison connected at 48 percent from the field and made 23 of 27 free throws for 85 percent.
Louisiana-Lafayette (1-1) shot 35 percent overall including just 1-for-10 from the 3-point line, and the Ragin' Cajuns were just 19-for-31 at the foul line for 61 percent.
Felt knocked down four of NDSU's seven 3-pointers in the game, including back-to-back treys in the middle of the second half that kept NDSU steaming ahead through foul trouble.
NDSU led virtually the entire game. Louisiana had a pair of brief three-point leads midway through the first half, the last at the 8:28 mark erased by three straight Felt free throws.
It was 32-32 before NDSU got a three-point play from Braun and a Joel Lindberg 3-pointer to go up six. The Bison led 38-33 at halftime and started the second half on an 8-1 run to push the lead to double-digits.
North Dakota State got into foul trouble with starters Dylan Hale and TrayVonn Wright picking up their fourth fouls on back-to-back plays with more than 13 minutes left in the game, and a pair of free throws by Darshawn McClellan trimmed NDSU's lead to 46-38.
Braun, who later picked up his fourth foul at the 9:40 mark, stretched the lead back to 10 with a pair of free throws. One play later, Alexander blocked Elfrid Payton at the rim before finding Felt for a 3-pointer that gave the Bison a 13-point lead, and Louisiana was no closer the rest of the way.
Payton finished with 13 points and three steals for the Ragin' Cajuns, Darnell Jackson grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds, and McClellan and J.J. Thomas scored nine points apiece.
North Dakota State closes out tournament play against Northern Arizona at 1 p.m. PT on Sunday, Nov. 13. The Lumberjacks are 0-2 after losing 83-66 to Louisiana-Lafayette and 69-50 to San Francisco.