FARGO, N.D. – North Dakota State overcame an early six-point deficit and rode a balanced scoring attack to an 82-63 win over visiting UC Santa Barbara on Sunday afternoon.
The Gauchos (1-1) led by as many as six points early, the last time at 12-6 when Christian Terrell made a put-back at the 15:23 mark. But the Bison (1-1) overcame some early shooting woes to close the half on a 30-16 run and claim a 36-28 lead at the break.
Santa Barbara pulled within five on two occasions early in the second half, the first on a three-point play by Jarriese Blackmon and the final time at 43-38 on a pair of free throws by JaQuori McLaughlin with 16:53 left in the game.
NDSU's lead used a 15-0 run that was capped by a short jumper from Jordan Horn to claim a decisive 58-38 advantage with 12:36 left on the game. But UCSB responded with a 13-3 stretch to cut the gap to 61-51 at the 8:07 mark. The rally began with a three-point play by Devearl Ramsey. Sekou Toure hit a pair of free throws and then a nice driving lay-up to make it 58-45.
A three-point basket by Tyree Eady pushed the edge back to 61-45, but two more free throws apiece by Ramsey, Ar'Mond Davis and McLaughlin pulled the Gauchos within 61-51, the closest the game got the rest of the way.
"Everytime we would make a run, they would answer," Ramsey said. "After they took the lead in the first half, we just couldn't get over the hump."
NDSU stretched its lead to 80-58 on a slam dund by Deng Geu with 2:23 to play and UCSB never pulled closer than 19 in the final minutes.
Ramsey finished with 13 points, Davis had 12, while McLaughlin and Toure each added for the Gauchos, who shot just 37.0% overall and made just 3-of-12 three-point attempts. Geu and Tyson Ward each had 16 while Cameron Hunter added 11 and Jordan Horn had 10 for the Bison, which made 49.1% of their shots, including 10-of-29 from outside the three-point arc, 34.5%.
UCSB will play its home opener on Tuesday, Nov. 13 when it hosts Cal Lutheran in a 7:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome. The Gauchos will also host Montana State in a Saturday, Nov. 17 matinée that tips at 2:00 p.m.