NDSU overcomes 20 turnovers in men's basketball victory

RALSTON, Neb. - North Dakota State's biggest strength so far this season was almost its downfall Thursday against Nebraska-Omaha. The Bison, who entered the game averaging the third-fewest turnovers per game in the country at 9.2, survived a seas...

RALSTON, Neb. – North Dakota State’s biggest strength so far this season was almost its downfall Thursday against Nebraska-Omaha.

The Bison, who entered the game averaging the third-fewest turnovers per game in the country at 9.2, survived a season-high 20 as NDSU escaped versus Omaha with a 75-72 win.

Lawrence Alexander led the Bison with 18 points, while A.J. Jacobson scored 17 and Dexter Werner added 14.

True freshman Paul Miller, who was 8 of 8 from the free-throw line, nailed all six he attempted in the game’s final 11 seconds to hold the Mavericks at bay.

North Dakota State coach David Richman said that while his team might have looked sloppy at times, Omaha’s defense contributed to that.


“I didn’t think we were very sharp or crisp. Twenty turnovers for a team that only turns it over nine a game, that’s too many for us,” Richman said.

“But I think Omaha had a lot to do with that,” he added. “They pressured. They took us out of some things. But make no mistake, this is a very good win for us on the road.”

Jacobson said the intensity of the Omaha pressure was something the Bison had not seen recently.

“They had some high pressure,” Jacobson said. “They did a good job getting in the gaps. Something we haven’t been used to the past few games. We had some teams that packed it in on us. But luckily down the stretch we made some big free throws and held on to the ball well enough to get the win.”

The Bison (11-5 overall, 3-0 Summit League) led 34-27 at the break on 42.3 percent (11 of 26) shooting while Omaha struggled, making 10 of 34 (29.4 percent) from the floor.

Jacobson led all scorers with 11 first-half points, making 4 of 6 overall and 3 of 4 from 3-point range, but the Bison gave the ball away eight times in the half.

Four more Bison turnovers in the first 4:30 of the second half helped Omaha pull to within one possession as the Mavericks trimmed the NDSU advantage to 40-37 with 15:19 remaining.

After Werner was called for traveling – the Bison’s 16th turnover of the game – a Tre’Shawn Thurman free throw and Mike Rostampour bucket tied the game 46-46 with 9:36 left.


A Marcus Tyus 3-pointer 33 seconds later gave Omaha its first lead of the second half at 49-48.

“Crazy stuff happens on the road,” Richman said of NDSU’s inability to secure the ball. “That’s something we pride ourselves in and something we’ve got to be better at.”

The Mavericks extended their advantage to 52-48 with 8:29 remaining.

But the Bison responded with a 13-2 run over the next 4:11 to lead 61-54 with 4:18 left in the game.

“That shows the resiliency of our group. We’re not the most pretty thing in the world. Fortunately the last three games we’ve been able to find a way in some tight games,” Richman said.

Omaha (7-8, 1-2) closed to within 69-67 with 12 seconds left.

That’s when Miller, who entered the game 19 of 22 on the season from the charity stripe, took over. He finished with 10 points off the bench – eight from the free-throw line.

Miller said he wasn’t feeling his shot throughout the game, only hitting 1 of 3 from the floor.


But he said he felt right at home from at the line with the game still up for grabs.

“Just don’t miss it,” Miller said. “That’s really what I was thinking. My shot had felt off all game before that. It felt good to step up there and hit some big free throws.”

NDSU (11-5, 3-0 Summit): Miller 1-3 8-8 10, Alexander 6-13 4-4 18, Dupree 1-6 2-3 4, Jacobson 5-7 4-4 17, Brown 2-4 0-2 6, Kading 3-4 2-2 6, Wener 5-7 2-1 14. Totals 23-44 24-27 75. 

O (7-8, 1-2 Summit): Smallwood 0-1 0-0 0, Patterson 2-11 6-7 11, Erickson 1-1 0-0 3, Rostampour 5-9 7-8 18, Carter 4-13 4-4 14, Murry 0-1 0-0 0, Thurman 6-11 5-6 18, Tyus 2-9 1-2 6, White 1-7 0-0 2. Totals 21-63 23-27 72.

Half: NDSU 34, O 27. 3-point goals: NDSU 5-15 (Miller 0-1, Alexander 2-8, Dupree 0-1, Jacobson 3-4, Kading 0-1), O 7-21 (Smallwood 0-1, Patterson 1-4, Erickson 1-1, Rostampour 1-1, Carter 2-6, Murry 0-1, Thurman 1-2, Tyus 1-4, White 0-1). Total fouls: NDSU 25, O 23. Fouled out: NDSU, Brown 5, Kading 5. Rebounds: NDSU 30 (Jacobson 8), O 23 (Thurman 8). Assists: NDSU 12 (Dupree 5), O 12 (Patterson 7). Steals: NDSU 5 (Dupree), O 7 (Patterson; Rostampour; Thurman 2). Turnovers: NDSU 20, O 8.

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