It really did look familiar. North Dakota State was right in the middle of losing a game they probably shouldn't lose in Grand Forks. The Bison were down 15 with 18:17 to go in the second half and still down by 11 with 13:46 to play when freshman guard Khy Kabellis stepped in.
Kabellis, averaging just 5.6 points per game hit a three and ignited a Bison rally. The young man from Escondido, California would score 18 points, 12 of those 18 in the final 6:08 of the game to lead North Dakota State to their first win over the Fighting Hawks in Grand forks since 2003. Kabellis also finished with five assists, three rebounds and two steals. It was truly a breakout performance.
North Dakota State struggled to convert from the free throw line, especially down the stretch. The Bison shot just 45.2% from the charity stripe.
This was certainly not the first time the Bison have dug themselves out of an early hole this season. "There's a culture established here. Until there are three zeros on the scoreboard, we're going to keep fighting. They're competitors. They fight, and they fought to the bitter end" said head coach David Richman.
The Bison came out gunning in the second half. North Dakota State shot 58% from the field and 60% from three in the final period. NDSU outscored the Fighting Hawks 44-32 after half time.
AJ Jacobson and Paul Miller pitched in 12 and 11 points respectively. North Dakota native Dexter Werner contributed ten points and led the Thundering Herd with eight rebounds. Both Werner and Chris Kading came off the bench on Friday night, as freshman Dylan Miller started the first collegiate game of his career.
Fighting Hawks junior guard Quinton Hooker led all scorers with 26 points. Hooker missed a three from the left corner with less than 25 seconds to play that would have tied the game. Forward Corey Baldwin later failed to convert a three point play leading to a Paul Miller rebound and free throws. The Bison blocked Geno Crandall's running three point attempt as time expired and sealed the victory.
North Dakota State now leads the Division I series against the Fighting Hawks 4-2. The Bison improved to 6-3 on the season. The Fighting Hawks fell to 4-5. NDSU hosts Montana State on Wednesday, December 16th at 7:00 pm at the Scheel's Center.