Denver, NDSU meet in Summit League quarters
No. 8 seed Denver (7-23, 3-13) vs. No. 1 seed North Dakota State (22-8, 13-3)
Summit League Conference Tourney Quarterfinals, Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Saturday, 7 p.m. EST
BOTTOM LINE: Denver is set to meet North Dakota State in the quarterfinals of the Summit League tourney. North Dakota State swept the two-game regular season series. The teams last played on Jan. 25, when the Bison outshot Denver 51.1 percent to 43.6 percent and hit 11 more foul shots en route to a 12-point victory.
ARE YOU EXPERIENCED: North Dakota State has depended on senior leadership while Denver has been fueled heavily by freshmen this year. Seniors Tyson Ward, Vinnie Shahid and Rocky Kreuser have combined to account for 60 percent of North Dakota State’s scoring this season and 67 percent of the team’s points over its last five games. On the other side, freshmen Ade Murkey, Robert Jones and Roscoe Eastmond have collectively scored 47 percent of the team’s points this year and have accounted for 89 percent of all Pioneers points over their last five.
KEY FACILITATOR: Murkey has made or assisted on 44 percent of all Denver field goals over the last five games. Murkey has accounted for 50 field goals and seven assists in those games.
ACCOUNTING FOR ASSISTS: The Pioneers have recently converted baskets via assists more often than the Bison. North Dakota State has an assist on 35 of 85 field goals (41.2 percent) across its past three matchups while Denver has assists on 41 of 78 field goals (52.6 percent) during its past three games.
DID YOU KNOW: The North Dakota State offense has recorded a turnover on only 15.4 percent of its possessions, which is the ninth-best rate in the country. The Denver defense has forced opposing teams to turn the ball over on just 18 percent of all possessions (ranked 255th among Division I teams).