Men's basketball: Bison gut one out in final minutes to snap losing streak
The teams fought back-and-forth in the second half but the Bison made key shots and free throws down the stretch to hold off Portland on Monday in Portland, Oregon.
PORTLAND, Oregon — North Dakota State battled through a back-and-forth second half and held off Portland 67-62 on Monday to snap a four-game losing streak.
Boden Skunberg hit key free throws in the final minute and also led the Bison with 20 points and 10 rebounds. He was 9 of 10 from the foul line.
Tajavis Miller scored 17 points and Damari Wheeler-Thomas finished with 12. Andrew Morgan scored 11 points.
The Bison broke strong from the gate and took a 21-9 lead early in the first half. But Portland battled back to whittle the NDSU lead to four by halftime and the teams battled back and forth throughout the second half.
The lead changed hands 12 times in the second half and the teams were tied five times.
Portland led 55-53 when NDSU's Jacari White hit a 3-pointer for a 56-55 lead with 4:25 to play. After a Skunberg block, Miller drove for a bucket that put the Bison up three with 3:45 left.
Miller hit a jumper that gave the Bison a 60-55 lead with 2:03 to play. Portland scored to cut the edge to three with 1:52 left but Wheeler-Thomas hit a jumper a minute later to restore the five point lead.
Skunberg made two free throws to put the Bison up 64-57 with 32 seconds left but Portland's Moses Wood answered with a 3-pointer to make it 64-60 with 24 seconds left. After a Bison turnover, Kristian Sjolund's dunk pulled Portland within two at 64-62 with 19 seconds remaining.
Skunberg was fouled with 14 seconds left and hit one of two foul shots and the Bison led 65-62. Wood missed a 3-point try, the Bison's Joshua Streit rebounded and was fouled, but he missed both free throws. Skunberg got the offensive rebound on the second miss, was fouled and hit two free throws with four seconds left to make it 67-62. A Portland 3 with a second left missed the target.
The Bison improved to 2-8 overall. They play host to Montana at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10.