Kreuser helps Bison cruise to home victory
FARGO — In the midst of final exams and coming off a win against its rival last weekend, the task for North Dakota State on Tuesday night was to remain focused.
The Bison accomplished that mission, getting a career-high 17 points from true freshman Rocky Kreuser to cruise to a 101-58 victory against Valley City State in nonconference men’s basketball before 1,661 fans at Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex.
“I’m proud of our guys. We came out and did what we needed to do,” Bison head coach Dave Richman said. “The challenge is to make sure that they’re locked in.”
The 6-foot-9 Kreuser finished 5-for-7 from the floor and also added three rebounds. His previous career high was 10 points, which came against Florida A&M in November.
“I’m encouraged to the see the continued progress of Kreuser,” Richman added. “He’s an intelligent kid. He works hard. … I really believe Rocky has a chance to be a really good player for us.”
The Bison (5-5) earned an 88-79 victory against the University of North Dakota last Saturday in Grand Forks. Valley City State, an NAIA opponent, is sandwiched between UND and Arizona on the NDSU schedule.
“Coach always talks about not being on the roller coaster,” Kreuser said.
The Bison play at perennial Pac-12 power Arizona on Monday, Dec. 18, in Tucson.
“We know we’ve got some tremendous challenges ahead of us,” Richman said.
Bison sophomore Deng Geu also had a career night for the Bison, finishing with a game-high 18 points. That tied his career mark as he also netted 18 points against Xavier last season.
The 6-foot-8 Geu was 8-for-9 from the floor, and also grabbing a game-high seven rebounds.
“I think we came out and handled business,” Geu said. “We didn’t overlook this team.”
NDSU started to pull away with a 12-1 run that ended with less than four minutes to play in the first half. Six different Bison players scored during that stretch. Sophomore guard Nnamdi Van Dulm capped the rally with a layup that gave NDSU a 34-18 lead with 3 minutes, 42 seconds to play until halftime. Van Dulm finished with seven points, the first points in his NDSU career.
The Bison scored the final eight points of the first half to take a 46-24 lead into halftime. NDSU had 10 different players scoring in the opening 20 minutes, shooting 64 percent (18 of 28) from the floor. Eight different Bison players had at least four points by halftime.
The Bison added 55 points in the second half, shooting 76 percent (22 of 29) from the floor over the final 20 minutes. Five different NDSU players scored in double digits.
“We’ve got to keep showing up in practice every day and compete,” Geu said.