Summit League Preview: South Dakota State Men Host Omaha, North Dakota State
After finishing the first half of the Summit League schedule tied for first place, the South Dakota State men's basketball team looks to get a jump start on the second half with a pair of home games this week.
The Jackrabbits (18-6/6-1 Summit League) are back at it early this week with a Tuesday (January 30) night match-up with Omaha at Frost Arena.
The Mavericks (7-16/2-5) come in off of back-to-back losses, with only one win in 12 tries on the road this season.
UNO is last in the conference in points allowed and has been out rebounded in each of the last four games.
Guard Zach Jackson leads Omaha in scoring and is fifth in the conference with 20 points per game. He was only 3-of-10 in a loss last week at North Dakota State, but had hit 57 percent of his shots in the previous six games.
South Dakota State won the first meeting, 101-88, in Omaha.
The Jacks shot 57 percent in that game and made 13 three-pointers. Mike Daum had 27 points, David Jenkins Jr. 22.
The Mavericks shot just 37 percent in the first half and trailed by 15 at the break.
Jackson finished with 29 points on a season-high 23 shot attempts in a losing effort.
Tipoff is 7:00 PM, Tuesday in Brookings.
Saturday (February 3) South Dakota State closes out the home stand when they welcome North Dakota State to Frost Arena.
The Bison (12-10/4-3 Summit League) are second in the Summit in points per game and shooting percentage.
They won their last two games of the first half thanks in large part to Paul Miller. The senior guard scored 51 points on 60 percent shooting in wins over Western Illinois and Omaha, earning Summit League Player of the Week honors.
The Jackrabbits won the first meeting of the year with the Bison, 87-80, in Fargo.
That game featured five ties and six lead changes and saw both teams shoot 50 percent in the first half. SDSU stayed hot in the second half (52%) while NDSU cooled off in the second 20 minutes (30%).
The top two scorers in the league were at the top of their games in this one - Daum hit 10 of his 22 shots for 37 points (22 in the first half), while going 16-of-16 from the free throw line. Miller was 11-of-22 for 36 points (20 in the second half).
Tipoff is 7:00 PM, Thursday in Brookings.
Last Wednesday (January 24), the Jackrabbits experienced their only setback of the Summit League's first half with an 87-68 loss at South Dakota.
The Jackrabbits grabbed an early six point lead, thanks for 4-of-5 shooting and five straight points from Daum. But State's shooting went cold the rest of the way, hitting just 8-of-24 (33%) the rest of the half and 13-of-33 (39%) in the second half.
South Dakota used a 14-0 first half run to take a six-point lead at the break, before blowing the game open with an 18-3 run early in the second half.
USD's Matt Mooney and Tristan Simpson combined for 50 points and eight of the Coyotes' ten three-pointers.
The Jackrabbits returned home Saturday (January 27) and escaped with a 78-76 win over Fort Wayne.
SDSU was in control in the first half, as Daum scored nine points and the Jackrabbit defense held the Mastodons to just 28 percent shooting, including 2-of-13 from behind the three-point arc, to lead by 17 at intermission.
But Fort Wayne came storming back on the second half, shooting 54 percent and forcing eight Jackrabbit turnovers to tie the game with 5:42 left. John Konchar had 18 of his 23 points in the second half.
Down the stretch, the game was decided at the free throw line. Up one with 40 seconds to play, the Mastodons missed the front end of a one-and-one, opening the door for SDSU.
Daum drained a pair of free throws with 21 seconds left, then State tacked on another point on a Tevin King free throw, as the Jackrabbit defense withstood two shot attempts from IPFW in the final ten seconds to secure the win.
I talked with South Dakota State coach TJ Otzelberger about last week's split and this week's match-ups with Omaha and North Dakota State: