MSU loses by 20 to North Dakota State

FARGO, N.D. -- Juniors Marshall Bjorklund and Taylor Braun combined for 39 points on 13-of-16 from the field and the North Dakota State men’s basketball team registered a 69-49 win over Morehead State on Friday night at Bison Sports Arena.

The Summit League Bison improve to 10-3 on the season with their fifth victory in the past six contests, while the Ohio Valley Conference Eagles slip to 5-8 overall. NDSU also moves to 2-0 in the all-time series with a season sweep of Morehead State.

“This was an extremely tough road trip for us,” Head Coach Sean Woods said. “We played very poorly against South Dakota and North Dakota State, which is certainly disappointing.”

Bjorklund posted a game-high 20 points on 8-of-8 shooting and 4-of-5 from the free-throw line, while Braun contributed 19 points on 7-of-9 from the charity stripe and sophomore Lawrence Alexander was NDSU’s third double-figure scorer with 12.

Bjorklund also pulled down a game-high nine rebounds, while Braun yanked seven missed shots from the glass. Alexander was credited with a game-best five assists.

North Dakota State finished at 56 percent for the game (24-of-43), including 74 percent from inside the arc (20-of-27). The Bison also connected on 85 percent from the free-throw line (17-of-20).

Morehead State was limited to 35 percent overall (16-of-46), including just eight percent from long distance (1-of-13). The Eagles did, however, drill 84 percent from the charity stripe (16-of-19).

“Give North Dakota State credit for finding ways to win both games against us this year,” Woods said. “Them shooting 74 percent from inside the arc tonight tells the unfortunate story. They got way too many easy looks at the basket, including several lay-ups and dunks.”

Junior Chad Posthumus paced MSU with team highs of 14 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Angelo Warner added 10 points for the Eagles, while senior Devon Atkinson tallied nine and junior Maurice Lewis-Briggs tossed in eight.

North Dakota State posted advantages of 31-22 in rebounding, 32-18 in paint points, 11-8 in second-chance points and 6-0 on the fast break. Both teams committed 14 turnovers, while Morehead State managed a 7-4 advantage in steals.

The Eagles never led in the contest. The game’s only tie was at 16-all with 9:04 before intermission, but the Bison followed with a 13-4 spurt and never looked back. NDSU’s biggest lead of 69-47 came with 2:15 remaining in the second period.

Morehead State returns to Johnson Arena on Dec. 28 and 30 for a pair of non-conference affairs. The Eagles entertain Conference USA opponent Southern Mississippi on Friday at 7 p.m. ET and nearby NAIA foe Union (Ky.) on Sunday at 2 p.m.

“I don’t think we’ve been right since the Kentucky game before Thanksgiving,” Woods added. “All I know is we will work extremely hard to find the answers. Adversity happens in college athletics and that’s when everyone needs to pull together.”

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