Playing with a burst of energy from the outset, North Dakota State jumped out to a 9-4 lead over Gonzaga in the first two minutes … and we thought maybe this was going to be the upset we’ve been waiting for all day. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Gonzaga returned to being the Gonzaga we’ve seen all year and did just enough to hold on for a 86-76 victory, although NDSU never really went away in a valiant effort.
Even though it was in a losing effort, it’s hard not to pick Dexter Werner here. The redshirt sophomore had a career-high 22 points for NDSU and carried his team on his back through most of the second half, willing them back into the game.
Kyle Wiltjer was the leading scorer for Gonzaga with 23 points and 8 rebounds.
As NDSU pulled within six with a little over five minutes to play, Kevin Pangos hit a 3-pointer and was fouled. He converted the 4-point play to push the Gonzaga lead back to 10, effectively ending the threat from the Bison.
Strange, Yet True
Despite losing the game, NDSU had a better overall shooting percentage in the game. The Bison shot 53.7 percent from the field, while Gonzaga finished at 51.7 percent.
Gonzaga advances to face an Iowa team on Sunday that blew out Davidson by 31 points earlier in the evening.
North Dakota State finishes its season as Summit League tournament champ with a 23-10 record.