North Dakota State escapes with 53-52 win over UND at Dakota Showcase

The Bison erased a double-digit, second-half deficit and used a Sam Griesel free throw with 5.2 seconds left to eke out a 53-52 victory over the Hawks on the final day of the three-day event.


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- The last time UND played North Dakota State in men's basketball, the Bison raced out to a huge lead en route to winning the Summit League Tournament championship game in a packed venue.

It was much different Saturday at the Dakota Showcase at the Sanford Pentagon. No fans were allowed at the event due to the coronavirus pandemic, and this time it was the Fighting Hawks jumping out to the lead.

New atmosphere, new in-game situation, same result.

The Bison erased a double-digit, second-half deficit and used a Sam Griesel free throw with 5.2 seconds left to eke out a 53-52 victory over the Hawks on the final day of the three-day event.

Griesel missed a second free throw and UND countered with a Seybian Sims 3-pointer from the top of the key that missed off to the left at the buzzer.


UND finished 1-2 in the Dakota Showcase, while NDSU ended 2-1.

"For the most part of 40 minutes, we put a pretty good, complete game in where we really fought," UND coach Paul Sather said. "I don't love moral victories by any means but it's great improvement, and we've got to keep buying into that and not let a loss kind of dictate what we are and what we're trying to become."

UND's Ethan Igbanugo hit a 3-pointer with 7:45 left in the second half to give the Hawks a 50-40 lead.

UND wouldn't score again for more than seven minutes.

"It's a hard stretch not to score in, but it's going to be good film to watch and improve from and get better," Sather said. "I thought there was some fatigue settling in around that four- or five-minute mark. It affected us more on offense than defense. We just weren't as sharp with our cuts and as aggressive."

Griesel, who started slow but finished strong, gave the Bison their first lead of the second half when he scored in the post to make it 51-50 with two minutes to play.

The Hawks' only basket in the final 7:45 came on a Filip Rebraca score with 42.7 seconds remaining to make it 52-52.

After a UND shot clock violation, NDSU had the ball with 21.1 seconds left in the tie game. Griesel held for the last shot near midcourt until about eight seconds left.


At that time, he attacked the basket and slipped near the hoop and UND guard Tyree Ihenacho was called for the foul with 5.2 seconds to go.

"I thought for the better portion of the game UND was the better team, the tougher team," Bison coach Dave Richman said. "But at the end of the day, we were the better team when it mattered and that was at the end."

Rebraca, a 6-foot-9 junior from Serbia, led UND with 21 points on 9-for-16 shooting. He finished with more than 20 points for the third time in the last four games.

No other UND starter scored more than five points. UND's next two leading scorers were Gertautas Urbonavicius with eight points and Igbanugo with seven. UND played for the fourth-straight game without possible starter De'Sean Allen-Eikens, who's out day-to-day with an injury.

The Hawks were also just 2-for-9 from the foul line.

The Bison, who started the season 0-5 against difficult competition before winning the last two games, were led by Griesel's 14 points on 6-for-17 shooting and Tyree Eady's 13 points on 6-for-7 shooting.

UND junior forward Filip Rebraca elevates for a shot over the defense of North Dakota State's Sam Griesel during their game Saturday at the Dakota Showcase at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D. Photo by Dave Eggen, Inertia.

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019 and 2022.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
What To Read Next
Get Local