Eric Carlson added 11 points and nine rebounds for the Bison (1-1). After being held scoreless in the first half, Carlson scored five consecutive points to give North Dakota State its largest lead of the game, 55-35, with 10:29 remaining.
Orlando Johnson scored a game-high 30 points for the Gauchos (1-1). Johnson, the Big West player of the year last season, made a 3-pointer and converted a three-point play to bring UC Santa Barbara within 62-56 with 1:28 remaining.
But North Dakota State, which went 11-18 last season, answered with a 5-0 run to secure the win.
Both teams conclude the three-day BTI Invitational on Sunday.