Nebraska Omaha (2-5) at North Dakota State (5-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, November 29, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bison Sports Arena (5,830) -- Fargo, NDSU. Television: None. Home Record: UNO 1-1, NDSU 2-0. Away Record: UNO 0-3, NDSU 1-2. Neutral Record: UNO 1-1, NDSU 2-0. Conference Record: UNO 0-0, NDSU 0-0. Series Record: North Dakota State leads, 39-28.
GAME NOTES: Members of the Summit League get together for their first league bout of the 2012-13 campaign on Thursday as the Mavericks of Nebraska Omaha pay a visit to Fargo to challenge the North Dakota State Bison at the Bison Sports Arena.
One of the newest additions to the Summit League, Omaha started off the season on a positive note with a 77-64 victory against Northern Illinois on Nov. 9, but since then the team has won just once in six tries. The team suffered through a five-game slide before finally getting back into the win column on Saturday with a narrow 68-66 triumph over Chicago State during the Joe Cipriano Nebraska Classic in Valparaiso, Indiana.
As for the Bison, they've been heading in the opposite direction with five wins in seven chances. The team had put together a four-game win streak, with three wins coming in as many days against Youngstown State, Duquesne and James Madison as part of the Legends Classic, but then on Saturday the squad was dealt a 74-59 setback by Green Bay on the road.
Familiar foes already, this is the 68th game in the all-time series between the teams, with the Bison owning a 39-28 edge heading into Thursday's battle.
In a meeting that experienced eight ties and 16 lead changes, the Mavericks picked the right time for one of their advantages as they slipped by Chicago State with a two-point win. Alex Phillips and Justin Simmons led all scorers with 17 points apiece, combining to shoot 14-of-26 from the floor, while Caleb Steffensmeier chipped in with 11 points and five rebounds in the close call. Simmons, who has at least held a share of the scoring lead for UNO in three games this season, leads the group overall with his 12.1 ppg. John Karhoff and Phillips check in with 11.4 and 11.3 ppg, respectively, the latter having knocked down an impressive 9-of-19 beyond the arc in the early going.
Against Green Bay over the weekend, NDSU fell behind immediately and never recovered, trailing by as many as 20 points in the second half before absorbing the 15-point setback on the road. In addition to converting just three of their 16 shots behind the three-point line in the meeting, the Bison also missed nine of 21 attempts at the free-throw line. Marshall Bjorklund and Lawrence Alexander tried to keep the visitors in the mix as they both scored 14 points, followed by Kory Brown with 10 points, but it just wasn't meant to be. Even though he wasn't among the top scorers the last time out and comes off the bench, Mike Felt has been a huge contributor for the Bison with his 23-of-47 (.489) shooting behind the three-point line, en route to 12.6 ppg which matches Taylor Braun for the top spot on the team's scoring list.
With the added pressure of kicking off the conference slate on the road Thursday, the Mavericks have their work cut out for them and as a result, they'll probably be overwhelmed by NDSU.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Dakota State 69, Nebraska Omaha 61
11/29 10:37:18 ET