North Dakota State College of Science found themselves down by five at halftime of their Sunday, Jan. 12 road bout with Miles Community College. Science cranked up the defense in the second half to run away with an 87-73 conference win.
“I thought we played hard the first half, but I consider Miles City a contender,” NDSCS coach Stu Engen said. “They’re a good team and a top-four team in our league in my early estimation. You play those types of teams and play them on the road, you need to play really well.”
After only forcing five turnovers in the opening period, the Wildcat defense turned the Pioneers over 17 times in the second half. They also only gave up 29 points compared to 44 in the first half.
“We played OK that first half, but not to the level we needed to play to win the game and in the second half our guys came out just flying around defensively,” Engen said. “We played a lot harder defensively and really had a great second half.”
Damien Gordon had the best offensive game of his college career in the victory. He only missed one of his 10 shots including three of his four 3-point tries. The sophomore poured in 24 points and Duoth Gach followed with 20.
“(Gordon) was fantastic, highly efficient and was instrumental (to the win),” Engen said.
Gordon wasn’t the only player on the court shining in the efficiency category. Gedeon Buzangu tore up the Science interior making all eight of his shots from the field while also burying 13 of his 14 free throw tries in a 29-point explosion. A bulk of the Pioneer big man’s production came in the opening half.
“We struggled and probably weren’t as prepared as we should have been for him,” Engen said. “I think what we normally do to defend posts and to keep the ball out of the posts wasn’t working for us.”
Next up for NDSCS (14-2) is a 7:30 p.m. home battle with Dawson Community College. The Buccaneers won the preseason conference tournament at the beginning of the year.