The North Dakota State men's basketball team saw its 14-point second-half lead over IUPUI dwindle to three points with one minute remaining, but the Bison held on for a 66-60 victory in Summit League play inside the Bison Sports Arena on Thursday evening.
NDSU improved to 17-6 overall and 6-2 in The Summit League, and with Fort Wayne's loss at South Dakota State on Thursday evening, the Bison pulled into a first-place tie with Fort Wayne in the league standings.
NDSU junior guard Lawrence Alexander led all players with 17 points. Taylor Braun scored 14, and senior forward Jordan Aaberg added a season-high 11 points off the bench.
The Bison held a 47-33 lead following a Kory Brown dunk with 10 minutes left in the game, but IUPUI connected for six three-pointers over the next nine minutes to trim its deficit to three at 59-56 with 1:03 to play.
Alexander made a layup to push the NDSU lead back to five, and three free throws and one final dunk by Braun in the last 40 seconds were enough to set the final score at 66-60.
Brown was a perfect 5-of-5 from the field for the Bison, filling the stat sheet with 10 points, five rebounds, four steals and two assists.
Thursday's game was the third straight in which Alexander played 40 minutes. NDSU shot 0-for-10 from three-point range, marking the first time the Bison didn't connect on a three-pointer in a game since an 0-for-7 performance at Augustana on Feb. 6, 1993. NDSU also won that game, by a 54-53 margin.
IUPUI (5-20, 0-8 Summit) received 16 points and eight rebounds from senior forward Mitch Patton.
NDSU committed just five turnovers in the game and shot 51.8 percent on its way to 52 points in the paint.
NDSU will host Fort Wayne in a battle for first-place in The Summit League at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Bison Sports Arena.