By Wayne Otto
College Basketball Columnist
College Sports Journal
Sioux Falls, S.D.—The Summit League is up to its old tricks again.
The Summit League’s championship basketball tournaments are creating some fan friendly basketball contests.
Flying just below the national basketball radar screen, the league has more than its fair share of quality teams and individual stars and they shined bright on the second day of quarterfinal play.
With a history of producing top level collegiate mid-major stars, this night was no exception as under rated Frank Gaines from IPFW out dueled Oakland University’s Travis Badar in front of a nice size group of NBA scouts.
Badar, the fifth leading scorer in the country with a 22.0 average is also the NCAA leader in three point goals made per game with 4.33, has 131 on the season and broke records with 11 treys against IUPUI in January, was held in check by the sticky defense of the athletic 6-3 Gaines.
Badar could manage only a 4-16 shooting night that doomed the Golden Grizzlies as they fell to the IPFW Mastodons 91-72 to advance to the semifinals.
The Dons, who are now peaking and have seven games in a row will face the top seeded South Dakota State University Jackrabbits, held the Grizzlies to 35% shooting and out rebounded them 44-26.
The Dons lit up the scoreboard shooting 63% from the field and held a 38-30 advantage before extending the lead to 19 to end the game.
But it was the defensive effort of Frank Gaines that was the difference who also tossed in a game-high 23 points on an efficient 7-of-12 shooting.
Oakland attempted 32 treys that tied the Summit League tournament record as fourth most ever.
Gaines turned some NBA heads with his stellar effort on Badar, who they actually came to see. Gaines is the 20th leading scorer in the country with a 19.5 average.
Oakland played in three straight Summit League championship games has now lost in the quarterfinals two years in a row.
In the men’s nightcap game, the North Dakota State Bison snapped a three game League tournament losing streak and beat the UMKC Kangaroos 69-58.
The Bison, who were ranked in the top 50 in the RPI earlier this season before losing team leader Taylor Braun to injury for four weeks, trailed UMKC 22-19 at half before posting 50 second half points to pull away from UMKC.
The Kangaroo’s dropped their fifth and final Summit League tournament opener in a row as they will join the Western Athletic Conference next season.
Bison alpha dog Taylor Braun scored 27 points on 5-9 shooting along with a 16-18 effort from the foul line, which was second most in tournament history.
Marshall Bjorkland poured in 18 and grabbed a game high 10 rebounds for the Bison, who shot 54% and held the Roo’s to 38%.
Trinity Hall came off the UMKC bench to lead them in scoring with 14.
The Bison took the lead for good with a Lawrence Alexander layup with 14:57 left to make the score 28-26.
The Bison extended their lead to 14 on five different occasions before settling on the final 11-point win.
Down 3 at half, NDSU coach Saul Phillips said “We were pretty calm at half. We have been in these situations before. We are a pretty veteran team. The first half, we were a bit passive and the second half we were aggressive and got the win.”
The Bison now play second seeded Western Illinois in the semifinals.
Through the first two days, the 2013 tournament has drawn 20,250 which is 2,625 of last year’s record pace.
In women’s quarterfinal action, IPFW used a 102 point effort from its starting five to nip Western Illinois 106-101 in 2OT.
Haley Seibert led the Lady Dons with 33 while Michelle Maher led the Lady Leathernecks with 26 points. IPFW set a tournament record with 14 three pointers.
IPFW will now face top seeded South Dakota State in the semifinals.
The South Dakota Lady Coyotes pulled away from the NDSU Lady Bison in the second half to secure a 73-53 victory to send them to the semifinals against second seeded IUPUI.
USD led 28-26 at half and used 15 points each from Tempest Wilson and Nicole Seekamp to out distance the Lady Bison.
USD used 30 points off the bench to clinch the victory.