North Dakota State Claims Second Summit League Title
Champion: North Dakota State
Score: No. 1 North Dakota State 60, No. 2 Fort Wayne 57
Records: North Dakota State (25-6), Fort Wayne (24-10)
Location: Sioux Falls Arena - Sioux Falls, S.D.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Taylor Braun took charge in the closing two minutes, scoring 10-straight points, as North Dakota State rallied to defeat Fort Wayne 60-57 in the championship game of The Summit League Men's Basketball Tournament.
Braun, 6-7 senior from Newberg, Ore, had just five points when he started his run with a pair of free throws to tie the game at 51. He followed that with a three-point basket putting the Bison back in the lead at 54-53. After Steve Forbes hit two free throws for IPFW, Braun scored on a drive making it 56-55 Bison, then hit another basket, was fouled and made the three throw with 12 seconds left for a 59-55 NDSU lead.
The Mastodons led for much of the game, opening an eight-point margin at 35-27 before leading 35-30 at halftime.
TrayVonn Wright led NDSU with 19 points while Braun finished with 15 and Marshall Bjorklund 12. Braun and Kory Brown had six rebounds each.
Fort Wayne did not get a player into double figures although Pierre Bland, Luis Jacobo, and Michael Kibiloski scored nine each. Bland also had nine rebounds.
The Bison, who won The Summit League regular season title, will take a 25-6 record into the NCAA tournament. IPFW is 24-10.
After a back-and-forth second half, North Dakota State took a lead it would not relinquish at the 1:20 mark on a layup by Taylor Braun. Braun would make it 59-55 on an and-one conversion to put the game out of reach.
Inside The Box Score
- Both teams went a combined 5:47 without a field goal. North Dakota State's TrayVonn Wright hit a trey at the 10:10 mark and the next field goal in the game would not be scored until the 4:23 point of the second half on a three-pointer by Fort Wayne's Pierre Bland.
- North Dakota State scored 30 points in both halves.
- Both teams were near identical in field goal percentage (IPFW 40.8 percent, NDSU 40.7 percent) and three-point field goal percentage (IPFW 35.3 percent, NDSU 31.3 percent), while both teams shot 78.6 percent from the line.
- North Dakota State had three players reach double figures while Fort Wayne had three score nine points each.
News & Notes
- With North Dakota State win, it was the first time since 1994, and second overall, that a Summit League Tournament has had its seeds hold all the way through.
- Tonight's attendance of 4,263 brought the men's tournament attendance to 20,832. Men's and women's combined total attendance for the 2014 Championships was 37,304, which ranks as the third-best all-time attendance figure.
- North Dakota State claims its second Summit League Tournament title (Bison also won in 2009).
Marshall Bjorklund, North Dakota State
Pierre Bland, Fort Wayne
Taylor Braun, North Dakota State (MVP)
Luis Jacobo, Fort Wayne
TrayVonn Wright, North Dakota State
North Dakota State will await its selection and placement into the NCAA Tournament field. The pairings will be announced Sunday, March 16th on CBS at 6 p.m. ET.
North Dakota State head coach Saul Phillips
"I am sitting up here with two seniors, one who carried us through that game almost the entire way [TrayVonn Wright] and one [Taylor Braun] that finished it off with a play that was eerily similar to 2009 [Ben Woodside's championship game winner]. Same play call actually."
on going back to the NCAA Tournament
"The one thing that I took away from the last [NCAA Tournament] was the experience from our young men. I thought they soaked it in pretty well and I thought we put a pretty good product on the floor against Kansas. I have learned you can do both, you can soak in every second of this … we are just giddy. It is going to be a blast and an absolute thrill ride for our guys and I am going to make sure that it is."
North Dakota State forward TrayVonn Wright
on winning the title
"It feels great like Taylor [Braun] said it feels indescribable. Accomplishing one of the main goals of the year, feels good."
North Dakota State guard Taylor Braun
on returning to the title game and winning
"It was not easy, give a lot of credit to Fort Wayne, they played extremely hard. They gave us everything we could possibly handle. We have a special group, we have been through a ton together. Unbelievably hard journey for us, nothing has come easy for us. A lot of us were overlooked coming out of high school, thanks to coach Phillips for giving us this opportunity. This means the world to us. Our team has always had a chip on our shoulder."
Fort Wayne head coach Tony Jasick
"Gosh, I thought that was a high level ball game. Give a lot of credit to both teams. I thought we had a lot of ball on the rim that just didn't fall tonight for us. It's unfortunate."
on Fort Wayne's offensive performance
"We didn't have great movement, our pace of play wasn't where it needed to be. I also think that we had a lot of balls right on the rim. Again, you have to give credit - NDSU is one of the best defensive teams in the league. We weren't able to convert on those teams."
on this season's success
"I wish it was Christmas right now and we had another 20 games. What they've done for our town, can't buy it. Can't replace it. It's been a great run. Hopefully we get an invitation to play again. We will compete."
"I don't think there was any question that we could win. When you play this hard and this emotional, some frustration has to sit- in only natural. We just talked about having good shots, playing faster, continue to get the ball in the paint."
on Taylor Braun
"He made some tough shots late, we tried to switch the way we are on the ball screen. At the end of the day, he's a good player. Saul [Phillips] puts them in great situations. I'm happy."