Suit up for Basketball
Published: Monday, November 5, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 17:11
Basketball is finally back here on the NDSU campus. Both the Bison men and women began their season campaigns with exhibitions on Thursday. The men beat up on Concordia 86-57 and the Bison ladies outlasted Minnesota-Crookston 68-65.
There were a couple of things I picked up on and I’d like to discuss them in my column. But first, the shocking play of the night goes to Mike Felt, who rose up and slammed one down on a fast break. Felt, mostly known for sniping three-pointers, got the crowd and the Bison bench on their feet with his one-handed slam. Felt, who took a foul on the play, was probably still basking in the glory when he missed the free throw. We’ll forgive him though.
All right, now to begin my five observations. Ladies first.
After suffering an ACL injury last year, Katie Birkel returned to the court and her knee looked plenty fine. Birkel scored a game-high 16 points and snagged seven rebounds. Along with her skillful play, Birkel brings leadership to the court, something the Bison lacked last year. NDSU’s offense will run heavily through number five this season, something Birkel and her knee look ready to handle.
Guard play steps up
With two of NDSU’s top centers sitting out, the Bison guards stepped up their game. Along with Birkel, Dani Degagne scored 15 points, and Hanna Linz came off the bench to score 10 points. That is three guards leading the team in scoring. When the height returns to the lineup, the Bison women may surprise some with a high-scoring offense.
Inside game looking good for Bison men
The Bison men are going to be most successful by scoring points in the paint. That starts with the big men, especially Marshall Bjorklund. Bjorklund scored a game-high 18 points and looked unstoppable at times, granted the Bison were facing a small school in Concordia. In addition to feeding the big men, NDSU was very successful driving into the lane and dishing the rock. The Bison had several dunks that were created by doing this. This squad certainly has good shooters, but getting points in the paint will be crucial.
Young guns look solid
Fans got their first glimpse at some of the true freshmen and what they saw was promising. One player who had a great debut was guard Kory Brown. He looked very comfortable out there on the court and looks capable of contributing right away. His six-foot four-inch frame compliments his ability very well for a freshman. Brett VandenBergh and Dexter Werner made some mistakes out there, but the future is certainly bright for these two.
How ‘bout that Bison defense
The football team isn’t the only Bison squad that has a standout defense. With numerous blocks and lockdown defenders on the edge, the Bison defense for this men’s team is looking to be a strong point. If NDSU comes with defensive aggressiveness and attack the paint every game, they should live up to their high expectations just fine.