North Dakota State Buzzer Beater Edges NIU Men's Hoops, 57-56, For Holiday Station GranTree Classic Title

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December 30, 2005

Box Score

North Dakota State Buzzer Beater Edges NIU Men's Hoops, 57-56, For Holiday Stores GranTree Classic Title

Bozeman, MT — After enjoying thrill of a buzzer-beating victory on Thursday night, the Northern Illinois University men’s basketball squad experienced the other side of that equation in Friday’s championship of Montana State University’s Holiday Stores GranTree Clasic.

North Dakota State University’s Brett Winkelman's lay-up at the buzzer helped the Bison to the 57-56 title game victory over the Huskies as an encore to their 76-75 Thursday night victory over the host MSU Bobcats.

Montana State did recover from that setback to post a 75-71 consolation game win over San Jose State University, a team which lost 80-78 when Northern Illinois’ James Hughes tipped home an inbound pass with just five-tenths of a second left to be played. The four down-to-the-wire contests were reflective of the balanced field in the MSU tourney.

NDSU, which trailed by nine at intermission, 33-24, fought back into a three-point lead, 53-50, on a bank shot by tourney MVP Andre Smith with 5:36 left in the game. After Hughes hit a left-baseline 12-footer, the Bison moved back up by three, 55-52, on a pair of free throws by Ben Woodside with 3:27 left to be played.

The Huskies’ Michael McKinney drained two free throws to pull NIU to within one point, 55-54, before Hughes hit a one-handed jumper for a one-point Northern Illinois lead at 56-55.

On the ensuing possession, Hughes blocked a Smith jumper before NIU's Cory Sims came down with the rebound with 38 seconds left.

Coach Rob Judson’s crew trimmed the 30-second clock down to six seconds before a Todd Peterson three-point miss gave North Dakota State a chance to push the ball upcourt and get the gamewinner.

Woodside paced NDSU with 15 points while Smith added 13 and Winkelman finished with 11. Northern Illinois was led by Hughes’ game-high 18 plus 16 more from McKinney, who were both named to the all-tournament unit.

With the win, North Dakota State — in the third year of a five-year transition to NCAA Division I status — boosted its record to 7-7. The buzzer-beating loss — the second so far this year for NIU — dropped the Huskies to 6-3.

“Two stats jump out, one is our free throw shooting and the other is the rebounding,” Judson noted. “They got the free throw line 21 times to our 11 and they made 14 of their 21 while we hit only six of our 11.

" In addition, we have to shore up our rebounding," Judson continued. "They got 16 offensive boards."

North Dakota State enjoyed a 14-6 advantage for second-chance points.

"This was on a night when we didn’t shoot particularly well, although we got some good looks," Judson said. "It’s a tough loss, but we’ll learn from our mistakes.

"We still need to have a few more assists than turnovers.”

Northern Illinois returns home on Jan. 3 to open Mid-American Conference play at the NIU Convocation Center with a 7:05 p.m. contest against Miami (OH) University.

For more information, contact Matt Brendich

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