SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (NDSU Athletics) – The fourth-seeded North Dakota State men’s basketball team held off No. 8 seed Western Illinois in the semifinals of the Summit League Tournament on Monday night, advancing to the championship game with a 76-73 win.
Freshman Sam Griesel (Lincoln, Neb.) scored a season-high 20 points and grabbed five rebounds to lead NDSU in both categories. Bison junior Vinnie Shahid added 14 points and three assists, and Deng Geu scored 11 for NDSU.
The Bison made 14-of-26 shots from three-point range, as nine different players hit from beyond the arc.
NDSU went up by 15 points at 34-19 less than 12 minutes into the game. The Leathernecks battled back to cut the deficit to 49-40 at halftime.
Western Illinois used an 11-2 run to pull within three at 57-54 with just under 16 minutes remaining. The margin was never larger than five points the rest of the way.
C.J. Duff hit a three-pointer to put the Leathernecks up 67-65 with 8:47 left, but Cameron Hunter answered with a trey for NDSU on the next possession, and the Bison never relinquished that lead.
Griesel made a three from the top of the key to put NDSU ahead 76-71 with 3:29 on the clock.
WIU had two shots to tie the game with a three on the final possession, but missed both.
NDSU led for 35 of the 40 minutes. The Bison committed just five turnovers in the game.
NDSU will play in the championship game of the Summit League Tournament for the fifth time in the past seven seasons.