The North Dakota State University men's basketball team dropped its Summit League opener at Fort Wayne on Thursday evening, falling 82-71 at the Gates Sports Center. IPFW senior forward Luis Jacobo led all players with 20 points.
The Bison trimmed an early 15-point deficit to three points on two occasions in the second half, but were unable to overtake IPFW.
NDSU (11-5, 0-1 Summit) was led by 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting from senior forward and NCAA field goal percentage leader Marshall Bjorklund. Senior Taylor Braun added 16 points, and TrayVonn Wright had 15 points, five rebounds and three blocks for the Bison.
Fort Wayne (13-5, 1-0 Summit) made 20-of-21 free throw attempts in the game – all in the second half – to seal the victory. IPFW entered the game shooting 64 percent from the charity stripe on the season.
The Mastodons raced out to a 25-10 lead midway through the first half and shot 6-for-10 from three-point range in the first 20 minutes. NDSU fought back to get within 38-31 at halftime.
The Bison closed to within three points at 50-47 with 11:42 to play in the game, but NDSU never regained the lead as Fort Wayne pushed its lead back to eight with five consecutive points. A three-point play by Lawrence Alexander with 5:26 to play pulled the Bison within three points again at 62-59, but that was as close as NDSU would get. Pierre Bland banked in a three-pointer for IPFW on the ensuing possession.
Fort Wayne held a 74-69 lead with just under two minutes to play before going a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line for the remainder of the game.
NDSU shot 29-for-57 (50.9 percent) for the game, but connected on just 5-of-18 attempts from beyond the arc. Fort Wayne scored 24 points off 15 Bison turnovers.
NDSU will play at IUPUI on Saturday, Jan. 11, with game time set for 2 p.m. (ET)/1 p.m. (CT).