FARGO, N.D. -- North Dakota State guard Taylor Braun scored 33 points as the Bison defeated the University of Delaware men’s basketball team, 85-66, in a BlackRock Gotham Classic contest Monday night at the Bison Sports Arena.

North Dakota State, which improved to 8-4 on the season, shot 52.9 percent from the field and led by double figures during the entire second half. The Blue Hens dropped their second consecutive game as Delaware fell back to the .500 mark at 5-5 on the year.

Braun, finished 9 of 14 from the field and 13 of 15 from the foul line while grabbing seven boards for the Bison, which held a 38-29 rebounding advantage. Marshall Bjorklund added 16 points and nine rebounds, while Lawrence Alexander was the third NDSU player in double figures with 11 points to go with four assists.

The Blue Hens were paced by senior guard Devon Saddler, who returned from a seven-game absence to pour in 24 points off the bench. Saddler, who did not start for the first time in his four-year career, knocked down 9 of 13 shots from the floor and buried three from behind the arc. Carl Baptiste narrowly missed his third double-double of the campaign with 12 points and a team-best nine rebounds, while Jarvis Threatt chipped in 10 points and four assists.

Delaware, returning from a nine-day break due to final exams, shot just 39.7 percent from the field and was 5 of 22 from three-point range. The UD starting guard trio of Threatt, Davon Usher and Kyle Anderson combined to go just 9 of 37 from the floor including 2 of 14 from deep.

“Credit North Dakota State, I thought they played a really good ballgame tonight,” said eighth-year Blue Hen head coach Monté Ross. “We were not sharp, and missed a lot of shots we normally make. I was proud of the guys’ effort; they fought back to within 13 and had a great look at a three-pointer, it just didn’t go down. We got a bunch of good looks tonight, but just weren’t able to knock them down. Devon (Saddler) was excited to be back, and it showed in his play.”

Both teams executed offensively through the first 14 minutes of the contest, as a layup by Threatt knotted the contest at 28-28 with six minutes to play in the half. However Delaware went scoreless over the next three minutes and the Bison took advantage, using a 10-0 surge to go up 38-28 on two Braun free throws at the 3:14 mark.

The Blue Hens endured a stretch which included 1 of 6 shooting and five turnovers, and trailed by as many as 13 before Saddler hit an off-balance three-pointer at the buzzer to bring Delaware within 43-33 at the break.

However NDSU opened the second half by scoring the first 10 points of the period, taking a 53-33 advantage with 14:42 to play following a fastbreak dunk by Braun.

UD missed its first seven field goal attempts of the half, finally getting on the board when Saddler scored in the paint at the 14:25 mark.

The Blue Hens slowly narrowed the gap, and eventually pulled within 11 points at 74-63 with 4:21 left on an Usher basket. But Braun countered with a pair of runners off the glass to put the Bison back up 15, as Delaware could never get the deficit into single digits.

Delaware returns to action on Wednesday when the Blue Hens take on third-ranked Ohio State in Columbus. The game will begin at 7 p.m. and will be televised by the Big Ten Network.

 Game Notes
• The contest was UD’s second game of four in BlackRock Gotham Classic
Jarvis Threatt surpassed the 900-point mark for his career
• NDSU shot over 50 percent for the sixth time this season
• The game was UD’s first ever contest in the state of North Dakota