Summit League Preview: Fort Wayne at South Dakota State
After struggling for consistency for much of the first half of the Summit League schedule, South Dakota State finished on a high note in week four, thanks to a pair of dramatic wins by a combined three points.
Thursday at Denver, the Jackrabbits got an incredible effort from Jordan Dykstra in the game's final minute, as he scored SDSU's final eight points, including two big 3-pointers, keying a come-from-behind win.
Head coach Scott Nagy told me it was good shooting and a strong showing on the boards that put his team in a position to steal one on the road:
Two days later in Vermillion, the Jacks again found themselves having to play from behind in the first half, as they trailed South Dakota by a point at intermission, but quickly turned that into a 15-point lead with a 23-9 run in the first 11:30 of the second half.
But SDSU seemed to lose its focus after that, and the Coyotes pulled to within two in the game's final 90 seconds. That's when the Jacks clamped down on defense, forcing two turnovers and an offensive foul to seal a two-point victory.
Despite the win, Coach Nagy did not like the way his team gave up a big lead in the second half at the DakotaDome:
The final weekend of the Summit League's first half featured a lot of positives for the Jackrabbits: second half rallies, late defensive stops, improved physical play, and most important - two road wins:
SDSU jumps into the second half of the conference schedule with first place Fort Wayne Thursday night.
The Jacks lost by seven to the Mastodons in week one, in large part because of post play. IPFW outrebounded SDSU by seven, grabbed 12 offensive rebounds, had a 12-4 advantage on second half points, and outscored the Jacks 42-16 in the paint:
Tipoff is 7:00pm Thursday in Brookings.