Fort Wayne, North Dakota State Head to Men's Semifinals

Men's Quarterfinal Game 3: (4) Oakland vs. (5) Fort Wayne - Photo by Inertia Sports Media
Men's Quarterfinal Game 3: (4) Oakland vs. (5) Fort Wayne - Photo by Inertia Sports Media

(5) Fort Wayne 91, (7) Oakland 72


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Fort Wayne jumped out early and rolled to its third victory in three weeks over Oakland, beating the Golden Grizzlies 91-72 in the quarterfinals of The Summit League Tournament Sunday.     

The Mastodons defeated the Golden Grizzlies 77-71 at Fort Wayne on Feb. 20, then won 74-72 at Oakland in the regular-season finale, March 2.  Oakland had won seven straight before the first meeting with the Mastodons.

Fort Wayne, the No. 5 seed, is now 16-16 and has the longest win streak in the league, currently at six. The Mastodons will play top-seeded South Dakota State (23-9) in the first semifinal game Monday, with tip-off at 6 p.m.

Fort Wayne never trailed in this meeting with Oakland. The Mastodons started hot, hitting eight of their first nine three-point shots and 13-of-17 shots overall for 76.5 percent and opened a 33-14 lead.

Then things went cold and Oakland climbed back into the game, closing within 38-30 at halftime after Travis Bader hit his first three of the game, then added a free throw, and followed it up with a driving layup just before the buzzer.

Oakland got no closer than seven, 67-60 in the second half.  After Duke Mondy hit a layup for OU making it 78-69 with 3:56 left, Fort Wayne slammed the door, holding the Golden Grizzlies scoreless over the next 2:43 while building the lead to 16, at 85-69.

All-league guard Frank Gaines, a 6-3 senior, led Fort Wayne with 23 points, while Luis Jacobo hit four-of-five three point attempts and finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. Michael Kibiloski also hit four three-point attempts and scored 15 points.

Bader led Oakland with 18 points but the league's leading three-point shooter was just 3-for-12 behind the line. Ryan Bass added 16 points, Dante Williams 14 and Drew Valentine 10.

Fort Wayne shot 62.5 percent (30-of-48) for the game including 12-for-20 on three-point attempts. Oakland checked in at just 35.5 percent (22-of-62) making 8-of-32 three-point shots.

The Mastodons were minus seven in turnovers (17-10) and had a 44-26 rebounding advantage.

Oakland ends its season 16-16.

Notes

--Fort Wayne's 12 made three-pointers tied for the fourth-highest total in Summit League Tournament history.

--Fort Wayne shot 62.5 percent for the game and became the first team to top 60 percent since the 2009 semifinals (Oakland, 61.9 vs. Fort Wayne). The Mastodons shot 60.0 from three-point range, marking the first team to do so since the 2007 quarterfinals.

--The 19-point win marked Fort Wayne's largest victory margin in Summit League Tournament history.

--Fort Wayne's win extended their win streak to six straight games, best in the school's Division I history and the longest active streak in The Summit League.

--The 19-point margin marked the largest for a 4/5 game since 22 in 1999.

--After playing in three consecutive championship games, Oakland has failed to advance out of the quarterfinal round each of the past two seasons.

--Oakland's Travis Bader set a new Summit League record for three-pointers attempted. He entered the game tied for the record at 337 (with Kansas City's Michael Watson in 2002-03).

--Oakland's 32 three-point attempts tied for the fourth most in Summit League Tournament history.

Quotes

Fort Wayne head coach Tony Jasick

"First and foremost you have to give a lot of credit to Oakland. I think we all know not only how good of a team they are but also how good the program is. It says a lot about my guys. We were fortunate. I thought we came out early and played very well early. We made a bunch of shots and then got a little lackadaisical and allowed them to make some runs. I thought we made some plays. I am glad I get to coach these guys for another day."

on the trick to beating Oakland
"I felt like all three games we did a good job of limiting (Travis Bader). On the flip side, we shot pretty well; we shot 63 percent. It is all about sharing the ball. You guys don't have to be real bright to get what our message is in terms of getting the ball into the paint making entry passes. In the last two months, we have been pretty good at doing that."

on the team's balance
"I just think being unselfish, sharing the ball, getting touches inside. I feel like we have a bunch of guys that can make shots. When we have 20 assists on 30 baskets (like tonight vs Oakland), we are pretty good. If we can do that again, I think we have a good shot."

on getting through first round
"I think anytime when you can beat Oakland that is pretty special. We have had a couple of good weeks with that. I have no question that I will have multiple text messages from Dane (former head coach Dane Fife) and he is the reason I am here. He did a great job of getting this thing started. So, it will be fun to visit with him after the game tonight."

Fort Wayne forward Michael Kibiloski

on shooting well
"Once we got into paint and kicked it out, our shooters were open we knocked down shots. Once we broke the press we found some opening."

Fort Wayne forward Luis Jacobo

on his success
"My teammates found me for a lot of plays. I had the easy job of knocking down shots."

Fort Wayne guard Frank Gaines

on his shooting night
"It was just about execution and us sharing the ball. Without my teammates I would not have success."

on guarding Oakland's Travis Bader
"I was just trying to be physical with him. My teammates helped a lot by jumping on the ball off screens and helping me contest his shots."

Oakland head coach Greg Kampe

"Congratulate Fort Wayne, they played one whale of a basketball game. They beat us three times in 18 days, I think the better of the two teams advances that should have advanced."

on if there were themes to the three Fort Wayne wins
"What I essentially wanted to do was try to take Jacobo out of the game because he was the guy I thought hurt us in the other two games. Frank Gaines is going to get his. (Jacobo) came out and hit his first four threes; it didn't look like we took him out of the game. They are off to a very hot start and played like a team with purpose and we played like a team that was just playing another game."

on Fort Wayne's balanced attack and open shots
"I think with their offense, they play at a slow pace and go around, go around and all of a sudden a guy catches the ball, goes like this and shoots it. You kind of lull into that defensively. I thought when we got back into the game, we created our own tempo by going full court against them and picking up the pace and taking them out of that comfort of just dribbling the ball around. The problem for us is we are not really deep and that is going to wear you out and I thought it did. We had to do it to get back into the game. They just did a real nice job of running their offence.  One of the things we wanted to do was go at Gaines. We picked up a charge on him early and fouled Bader and we got him out of the game in the first half and it's like it didn't even matter."

on how frustrating it was not being able to get over the hump
"We had our chance. When you get down 20 and you battle back the way we battled back you spend a lot of energy to do that, you got to finish it. We didn't finish it."

Oakland guard Travis Bader

on what made Fort Wayne tough tonight
"They really came out and wanted to beat us, and they did. They beat us twice in two weeks and they just wanted it. Tonight they came out and for some reason we didn't come out with that same energy and desire to win."


(3) North Dakota State 69, (6) Kansas City 58


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – North Dakota State took the lead with a 9-0 run early in the second half and went on to defeat Kansas City 69-58 in the quarterfinals of The Summit League Men's Basketball Tournament Sunday night.

Kansas City led 22-19 at halftime and pushed the lead to 26-21 on a basket by Thomas Staton with 19:03 to play. Then the Bison went to work, tying the game on a layup by Taylor Braun, and getting the lead for good on a basket by Lawrence Alexander.

After NDSU pushed the lead to 30-26, Estan Tyler hit a three pointer for the Kangaroos, to end the run. But the Bison countered with a trey by TrayVonn Wright and upped the lead to 38-29 when Alexander drained another trey with 11:04 to play.

NDSU largest lead was 14 five different times. Kansas City came within nine down the stretch when the teams combined for 29 points (UMKC 16, NDSU 13) in the final 1:46. All 13 Bison points came at the free throw line.

The victory puts North Dakota State (23-8) in the tournament semifinals against Western Illinois (22-7) at 8:30 p.m. Monday.

Braun led NDSU with 27 points hitting 16-of-18 at the foul line. Marshall Bjorklund had an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double while Alexander added 14 points.

Reserve Trinity Hall was the only Kansas City player in double figures, finishing with 14 points.

North Dakota State shot 53.7 percent (22-of-41) from the field and was 20-of-27 at the line. Kansas City hit just 38 percent from the field (19-of-50). NDSU also had a 35-25 rebounding advantage.

Kansas City ends its season 8-24.

Notes

--Attendance for tonight's session was 3,786, nearly 1,000 more than last year's second day men's session. Through two days, the 2013 Tournament has drawn 20,250. That total is 2,625 ahead of last year's record pace at this time.

--North Dakota State snapped a three-game Summit League Tournament losing streak, collecting its first win since the 2009 championship game.

--Kansas City dropped its fifth consecutive Summit League Tournament game dating back to 2007. It ties for the fourth-longest losing streak in league tournament history.

--Taylor Braun's 16 made free throws tied for second-most in Summit League Tournament history (with Wright State's Bill Edwards in 1993). His 18 free throw attempts tied for fifth-most.

Quotes

North Dakota State head coach Saul Phillips

"I am going to filibuster this press conference so that I don't have to read a review on the first half. We turned it over way too much; we took better care of the ball in the second half. Taylor Braun had arguably the ugliest start to a really good total game overall that I have seen in a long time. It is good to have Taylor back; you can see the difference in the second half. When he is playing free, we are playing pretty good. Defensively, we were pretty good defensively all night long, except for the end there where we were trying not to foul. They played like a team that did not want to go home. They got us back on our heels and played us physical. They knocked us on our heels and it took a while for us to regroup. You survive and advance. The year we won, we struggled mightily in the first round against a Centenary team. All I know is that we started the day with six teams left in the tournament and now there are four. Our next job is to get to the part where there are two left."

on halftime talk and doing some things right in the second half
"It was more calm than you think. It is calm because I have been through a lot with this group and it has turned out fine 23 times. I know them well enough to know when they need to fire up and when they need to settle down. Some people may have seen it as us overlooking someone; I saw it as us trying to do things we were not capable of.  They are excited to be here. In the second half we got into a nice comfort level and that is the team we needing to be a lot closer to if we have any chance of stringing together a couple of wins."

on playing Kansas City
"You look at SDSU last night; it isn't a team you are playing in the middle of February that maybe doesn't want to be in Fargo, N.D. This is a team that is playing to put their jerseys on the next night. That is going to let them play better. You combine that with we kicked the ball all over the gym. We can have problems and mishaps but we aren't going to have turnovers. Our guys know that."

on Taylor Braun
"He is our alpha dog; he is our strength; he is confidence. I think we did a lot of good things when he was out but I think for this team to have a reasonable good thing from here on out, he has to be part of it. Tonight, they got into him good but by the end of the game, he had settled down where he had gotten use to that and he had 27 points."

North Dakota State forward Taylor Braun

on his play tonight
"They came out pressuring me pretty tough. I was playing pretty soft. Coming into locker, I gathered my thoughts. They were pressing me past three point line that left some opening to drive and open shots."

on getting The Summit League Tournament win
"It feels very good. My heart was racing when the game started just knowing we have come down here and have a lot of success. I was very pleased to get this first one out of the way. It has been a short stay for us in Sioux Falls; so it is good to stay an extra night."

on Western Illinois matchup
"I am excited and look forward to the game. They have beaten us too many times in a row. We have come up a little short against them so I am definitely looking forward to contributing and playing them."

North Dakota State forward Marshall Bjorklund

on halftime talk
"We were pretty calm at half. We have been in situations like this before. We are a pretty veteran team.  The first half, we were a bit passive and the second half we were aggressive and got the win."

on Western Illinois
"We played them twice this year without Taylor (Braun) and we feel like we played a couple of good halves against them; especially down at their place. We didn't finish strong. We definitely feel with Taylor back we have a really good chance against them."

North Dakota State guard Lawrence Alexander

on Kansas City's pressure early

"At first, they disrupted our rhythm but we just had to settle down and make harder cuts and just pass and catch. Once we did that the rhythm came back."

Kansas City head coach Matt Brown

"We did a lot of double teaming in the post and did a great job on Bjorklund. We obviously did a lot of double teaming in the post and created a lot of turnovers and we did a really good job of valuing the basketball for pretty much a majority of the game."

on slowing the offense down after getting first half leads
"Not really. We took the exact same shots in the first as we did in the second half, we just didn't make any of them. If you look at the stats, both teams shot the ball pretty miserably in the first half. Unfortunately for ourselves they shot around 62 percent and we shot around 50 (in the second half). I thought we did a really good job of valuing the ball, we had a really good game plan, did a great job on Bjorklund. I really thought we should have been up double figures at half time. They gave us wide open shots we normally make."

on leaving Kirk Korver on the bench when the team needed some threes
"He hurt his foot in the game. He hurt his foot going up for a rebound. He went up for a rebound in the 1-3-1 zone. The ball got shot from the right side, he was on the left side. He was on the block and his foot got tangled up and he may have reinjured his foot."

Kansas City guard Thomas Staton

on being inspired to play in the first half
"We came out with the idea that we could play with anyone as long as we took care of the ball, and that's what we did. I think we had seven assists to two turnovers in the first half and that's big for us. If we can get shots up we can pretty much play with anyone. We didn't shoot well but we were playing good defense too."

on the number of forced turnovers in the first half
"Just ball pressure. I think they didn't expect it because of the first couple of games. They didn't expect us to come out and play as hard as we did. We shocked them and got into them and they didn't handle the pressure well but they made some adjustments."

 
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