Three point shooting could be difference for Bison against the Eagles

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DAYTON, Ohio (Valley News Live) -- As North Dakota State gets set to take on North Carolina Central in one of the NCAA Tournament First Four games in Dayton, Ohio, there is one statistic that jumps off the paper.

Three point shooting.

NC Central is shooting the three ball at just over 31 percent (.315).
North Dakota State is connecting on over 36 percent of its three point attempts.

Attempts are another big discrepancy.

NDSU has attempted more than 200 more three pointers than the Eagles, and the Bison have hit more than 100 more threes.

"I think a big thing is confidence and also just getting good shots not just jacking them up every time down the floor but inside-out, touch the post, and just getting those good shots," Bison junior Jared Samuelson said Tuesday.

For the Eagles, head coach Levelle Moton is aware of how well the Bison are shooting but really wants to make sure NDSU doesn’t get any free looks at shots beyond the arc.

“[There’s] two three-point shots in the game that will absolutely kill you -- the transition three when you don't find a guy and then it's the offensive rebound that they get when you're kind of scrambling and then they kick it out to another guy -- so to simplify things and put it in layman's terms we have to play five on five basketball at all times.” Moton said. “It can't be four on three, it can't be five on four, three on two or two on one, we've got to be five on five."

The Bison pride themselves in getting quick buckets offensively. As junior Vinnie Shahid explains, "Coach Richman says it all the time if the other team misses we've got to push the ball at them and we want to score in that first eight or late.”

“So I think it's been working to our advantage to score in that first eight (seconds) and if not get a really good shot."

A challenge both teams will be facing is the unfamiliarity with each other on short notice.

The matchup was set Sunday during the bracket reveal and both teams made their way to Dayton for a public practice Tuesday meaning prep time for the game has been limited with travel mixed in.

However, both teams feel like they are playing their best basketball of the season right now.

North Dakota State vs. North Carolina Central tips off at 5:40 p.m. and can be seen on truTV.