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Bison edge Division I newbie Tarleton on two late free throws

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North Dakota State's Grant Nelson goes up for two against Tarleton during their basketball game Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
Forum Communications Co.

The ending was more like a Summit League battle in the middle of February. North Dakota State and Tarleton State played a men’s basketball grinder that went down to the last minute with free throws, questionable calls and a one-point game at the buzzer.

Non-conference doesn’t mean non-competitive and when it comes to five guys playing in-your-face defense, the Bison found their match in the Division I newbie from Texas.

“They were a tough, physical team,” said Bison forward Rocky Kreuser. “They get up in your grill and make you uncomfortable on offense.”

Kreuser’s two free throws with 7.9 seconds were the difference in a 54-53 win at Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex. Kreuser was making a reverse spin when a block was called on Tarleton.

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After Kreuser's free throws, NDSU guard Tyree Eady stood his ground and Tarleton’s Montre Gipson lost the handle on his way up for the shot. It ended a game where three Texans played all 40 minutes, Gipson sat for 33 seconds and starter Shakur Daniel would have played all 40 minutes had he not fouled out.

“After the first eight minutes, I was wondering if they were going to sub guys out and they kept going and going,” Kreuser said. “Absolutely incredible to be in that kind of shape and mentally tough to stay in the game that long.”

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North Dakota State's Noah Gindorff grabs a touchdown reception as he looks to celebrate with teammate Josh Babicz at the Fargodome on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. David Samson / The Forum

Four Bison make all-star rosters, but hard for NDSU players to reach FCS award status

The business this week for the North Dakota State football team is to practice for a couple of days, take a mini-holiday break for Thanksgiving and return to work on Saturday. That’s the luxury of getting a first round bye in the 24-team Division I FCS playoffs.

Meanwhile, two more Bison players are giving thanks to post-college all-star games. Tight end Josh Babicz will join fellow tight end Noah Gindorff at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 29. Wide receiver Christian Watson and offensive tackle Cordell Volson accepted invitations to East-West Shrine Bowl Feb. 3 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

“It’s something they’ve all earned,” said NDSU head coach Matt Entz. “All have been tremendous football players for us. To have the opportunity to be selected or recognized as one of the best football players in the country regardless of level speaks to their development.”

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