No. 1 NDSU advances to second-straight title game

NDSU senior guard Vinnie Shahid scored 17 points as the Bison defeated Oral Roberts 75-69 in the semfinals.
NDSU senior guard Vinnie Shahid scored 17 points as the Bison defeated Oral Roberts 75-69 in the semfinals.

Press Conferences: NDSU Head Coach David Richman | NDSU Players | ORU Head Coach Paul Mills | ORU's R.J. Fuqua

The Basics
Score: No. 1 North Dakota State 75, No. 4 Oral Roberts 69
Records: North Dakota State (24-8), Oral Roberts (17-14)
Location: Denny Sanford PREMIER Center - Sioux Falls, S.D.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Top-seeded North Dakota State looked to get back to the Summit League finals for the second straight-season and for the sixth time in eight years. No. 4 seed Oral Roberts, on the other hand, hoped to get back to the finals for the first time since 2011. The former prevailed, as the defending tournament champions hung on for a 75-69 win to advance to Tuesday's Summit League Tournament title.

Neither team started particularly well, but neither played poorly either, as they went back-and-forth through the first 13 and a half minutes of the game, which saw five ties and three lead changes.

A Vinnie Shahid three-pointer with 6:24 on the clock put the Bison up 26-22, but the teams combined to miss their next 11 shots from the floor.

NDSU's Sam Griesel halted that stretch with a layup at the 3:06 mark, but Oral Roberts scored the next five points to cut the deficit to 28-27. 

ORU then tied the game at 30-30 on a Deondre Burns three-pointer with 1:13 left. The Golden Eagles had a chance to take the lead going into the break, but came up empty and Tyson Ward made them pay with a triple of his own with five seconds left to make it a 33-30 contest at the break.

North Dakota State scored the first seven points of the second half to take its first double-digit lead of the game at 40-30, but Oral Roberts would make a game of it.

It didn't happen quickly and it didn't include any big runs, but the Golden Eagles kept chipping away and eventually battled back to tie the game at 48-48 on a Kevin Obanor put back at the halfway point of the second half.

The last of those seven ties was short-lived as Ward hit a three-pointer on NDSU's next possession. The Bison never trailed again as Cameron Hunter was clutch at the foul line down the stretch, scoring 10 of his 12 points from the stripe.

Ward led a trio of Bison in double figures with 21 points. Shahid added 17 and Cameron Hunter 12 points off the bench.

Obanor tallied game-highs with 27 points and with 10 rebounds to complete the double-double. R.J. Fuqua had a season-high 23 points and Burns tacked on 13 in the loss.

The Bison advance to Tuesday's title game to face either No. 6 seed North Dakota or No. 7 seed Purdue Fort Wayne.

Turning Point
Tyson Ward's three-pointer with 9:53 left in the game. After Oral Roberts fought back from a 10-point deficit to tie the game at 48-all, Ward buried a triple the next trip down the floor. The Bison never trailed again.

Inside the Box Score

  • The NDSU bench outscored the ORU bench 17-2.
  • The Bison went 10-for-12 from the free-throw line over the final 45 seconds of the game.
  • Both teams shot under 40% for the game; NDSU went 27-for-68, while ORU went 21-for-59.
  • The teams combined for just 13 turnovers: seven from ORU and six from NDSU.
  • Obanor posted his eighth double-double of the season in the loss.

News & Notes

  • NDSU improves to 18-7 all-time in the tournament, with a 6-1 mark in the semifinals. Its lone semifinals loss came against SDSU, 78-57 in 2018.
  • The Bison advance to the tournament finals for the seventh time
  • ORU falls to 22-17 all-time in the tournament, with a 6-8 mark in the semifinals
  • Prior to Monday, the Golden Eagles last played in the semifinals in 2015, when they lost to the Bison, 60-56.
  • Monday's game marked the fifth meeting in The Summit League Championships. ORU won quarterfinal games in 2010 and 2011, while NDSU won a semifinal game in 2015 and now 2020, and a quarterfinal game in 2019.
  • The No. 1 seed holds a 10-6 advantage over the No. 4 seed in the tournament semifinals.

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