North Dakota State (12-3) at UMKC (4-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 5, 6:15 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Municipal Auditorium (9,827) -- Kansas City, Missouri. Television: Local. Home Record: NDSU 6-0, UMKC 1-5. Away Record: NDSU 4-3, UMKC 1-5. Neutral Record: NDSU 2-0, UMKC 2-1. Conference Record: NDSU 3-0, UMKC 1-3. Series Record: NDSU leads, 8-4.
GAME NOTES: North Dakota State goes after its fifth straight victory when the Bison charge into Municipal Auditorium for Saturday's Summit League showdown with the UMKC Kangaroos.
The Bison are coming off a 92-66 triumph at South Dakota on Thursday. Marshall Bjorklund led four players in double figures with a game-high 23 points. Bjorklund was two rebounds shy of a double-double. Taylor Braun tallied 19 points, while Mike Felt and Jordan Aaberg contributed 15 and 12 points off the bench, respectively. The Bison controlled the boards, 32-20, and knocked down 37-of-58 (.638) shot from the floor.
Bjorklund leads the nation in field goal percentage (.713), and the junior is averaging 13.1 points and a team-leading 5.9 rebounds per contest. Incredibly, he has made 27 of his last 29 attempts over three games.
Braun (15.5 ppg) paces North Dakota State in scoring, and Lawrence Alexander (10.0 ppg) is the other player in double figures. The Bison are hitting 39 percent from 3-point range. Not only has NDSU thrived offensively by averaging 71.7 points, but the squad is limiting opponents to just 58 ppg, which is the best scoring defense in school history dating back to 1950-51. NDSU has held six opponents under 50 points already this season. Before this year, the team had accomplished the task only seven times in eight seasons of Division I basketball.
UMKC is a team headed in the opposite direction, as it has endured seven straight losses since beating North Dakota on Dec. 5. Most recently, the Kangaroos lost at home to South Dakota State, 77-61, on Thursday. Thomas Staton led the 'Roos with 14 points, while Nelson Kirksey added 12 and Estan Tyler chipped in with 10.
Staton (15.0 ppg) and Tyler (10.6) are averaging double figures over the last five contests, while Fred Chatmon paces the team with 10.0 rebounds over that stretch. For the season, Staton (11.1 ppg) is the team's leading scorer.
The Kangaroos trailed at halftime in each of the past seven games, but in the last two they have fallen behind by at least 22 points. UMKC is 0-10 when trailing at the half this season. Expect another rough game for the Kangaroos, as NDSU should dominate.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Dakota State 78, UMKC 64
01/05 10:37:38 ET