The North Dakota State University men's basketball team used a 10-2 run over the final three and half minutes of the game to erase a five-point deficit and rally to defeat the University of South Dakota 66-63 on the road in the DakotaDome on Thursday evening.
Senior forward TrayVonn Wright led all players with 20 points. With two free throws that sealed the NDSU victory with eight seconds left, Wright moved to 1,001 career points and became the 31st man in NDSU history to reach the 1,000-point milestone. Wright also led NDSU with eight rebounds.
Bison senior Taylor Braun had 11 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals. South Dakota (8-12, 3-3 Summit League) was led by 16 points from Trevor Gruis.
NDSU (16-5, 5-1 Summit) built a 44-33 halftime lead, but cold shooting in the second half allowed South Dakota to surge to a 61-56 lead with four minutes remaining. The Bison scored just 12 points in the first 16 minutes of the second half and shot 7-for-26 (26.9 percent) for the half overall.
Wright banked in a leaning jumper with 2:43 left to pull the Bison within two at 61-59, but Braun missed shots on the next two NDSU possessions to keep the Coyotes in the lead. The third time was the charm for Braun, though, as he made a steal and drove for a basket in the lane at the other end to tie the game at 61-61 with 1:09 remaining.
Brandon Bos made two free throws for USD with 44 seconds left, but Braun responded immediately with a traditional three-point play that gave the Bison a 64-63 edge with 33 seconds left.
USD's Gruis was fouled on the following possession, but he missed both free throws and TrayVonn Wright connected for two at the other end to make it 66-63 in NDSU's favor. Chris Kading blocked the first Coyote attempt at a trey to tie the game, and a second attempt at the buzzer rimmed out.
NDSU, the national leader in team field goal percentage at 51.6 percent entering the game, shot a season-low 39.3 percent on Thursday. The Bison committed just six turnovers and made 16-of-21 attempts from the charity stripe.
NDSU will play at the University of Denver on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 4 p.m. (MT)/5 p.m. (CT).