Bison Bench Lifts NDSU to 79-65 Victory over Montana State
Vinnie Shahid led all scorers with 24 points, and Tyson Ward added 19, but it was the bench production that powered the North Dakota State men’s basketball team to a 79-65 victory over Montana State on Monday evening inside the Scheels Center.
Freshman Maleeck Harden-Hayes (season-high 10 points), junior Tyler Witz (9 points) and sophomore Jaxon Knotek (career-high 8 points) combined to score 27 off the NDSU bench.
It was the third straight win for the Bison, improving their season record to 8-4. Montana State fell to 6-4 with the loss.
Ward filled the stat sheet with 19 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and no turnovers. It was his first double-double of the season and 10th of his career.
NDSU led for 36 of the game’s 40 minutes. The Bison held a 34-31 advantage at halftime, but Montana State scored the first seven points of the second half to pull ahead 38-34 with 17 minutes remaining.
The Bison responded with an 11-3 run to go up 49-43 with 12:30 on the clock, and NDSU never trailed again. Tyree Eady drained a three from the corner, Knotek hit two treys in the span of a minute, and Ward scored on a goaltending call to cap the run.
Buckets from Harden-Hayes and Witz helped push the Bison lead to as many as 14 with 6:30 left. Montana State trimmed the margin to seven at 72-65 in the final two minutes, but Shahid made four free throws and a three-pointer in the final 81 seconds to seal the victory.
NDSU committed only five turnovers in the game and forced the Bobcats into 16 turnovers for a plus-11 margin. The Bison made 10-of-26 (38.5 percent) from three-point range.
NDSU plays at Marquette on Friday, Dec. 20, at 8 p.m. The game will be broadcast nationally on FS1.