The North Dakota State University men's basketball team posted a 56-52 victory at Western Illinois University on Thursday, Feb. 13, moving to 19-6 overall and 8-2 in The Summit League in front of 1,962 fans at Western Hall. The victory was NDSU's first in Macomb since Dec. 3, 2009.
NDSU senior Taylor Braun scored 19 points to lead all players, and Lawrence Alexander and Marshall Bjorklund chipped in 14 and 12 points, respectively, for the Bison. TrayVonn Wright pulled down nine rebounds, and Alexander recorded four steals.
The Bison outscored the Leathernecks 28-26 in each half and shot 17-of-19 from the free throw line. The national leader in field goal percentage at 50.8 percent, NDSU shot just 18-of-45 (40 percent) for the contest.
Adam Link and Jabari Sandifer both scored 13 points for WIU.
The Leathernecks held a five-point lead at 18-13 with under eight minutes remaining in the first half, but consecutive three-pointers by Braun and Alexander gave NDSU a 19-18 edge.
Leading 28-26 at halftime, NDSU opened up a 10-point lead with an 8-0 run in the first four minutes after the break. The Leathernecks put together a 15-6 run to pull within one point at 42-41 with 6:22 to play, but the Bison never relinquished the lead. WIU was as close as four at 51-47 with 40 seconds left, but five more NDSU free throws sealed the victory.
With the win, NDSU retained its one-game lead over Fort Wayne and South Dakota State – both victorious on Thursday – in the Summit League standings.
NDSU will return to action at Omaha on Saturday, with game time set for 4 p.m. on the Midco Sports Network and Fox College Sports.