Summit League Preview: Jackrabbit Men at Fort Wayne, Western Illinois
It's shaping up to be a wild final two weeks to the 2016 Summit League men's basketball schedule, with three teams within a half game of first place.
South Dakota State is one of the teams currently tied for the top spot as they begin their final road trip of the regular season. Up first Thursday night? The team they share the conference lead with - Fort Wayne.
The Jackrabbits (20-6/9-3) won the first meeting of the year, 92-76, in Brookings last month. A 14-3 second half run helped provide the cushion SDSU needed. Deondre Parks and George Marshall combined for 54 points and the Jacks dominated in the paint 32-14.
Max Landis hit on five of the Mastodons 12 three-pointers, while John Konchar notched a double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds.
Fort Wayne (20-7/9-3) leads the Summit League in three-point shooting, rebounding and assists. Landis, a senior, is the leading candidate for Player of the Year in the league. He's number two in scoring and number one in three-point shooting. Konchar, a redshirt freshman, is one of the leading candidates for Newcomer of the Year in the conference. He's first in rebounding and field goal percentage, fourth in steals, and seventh in assists.
South Dakota State in the top offensive rebounding team in the Summit League. The Jackrabbits also commit the fewest turnovers. They are next-to-last in free throw shooting, but have topped 90 percent from the line the last two games. Senior George Marshall and redshirt freshman Mike Daum are in the top ten in the league in scoring. Daum is a leading candidate for Sixth Man of the Year. He's in the top ten in scoring, rebounding, field goal, three-point, and free throw percentage.
Tipoff is 6:00 PM in Fort Wayne, Thursday night.
The Jackrabbits move on to Western Illinois Saturday.
SDSU won the first meeting with the Leathernecks, 63-59, during the first weekend of the regular season, in Brookings.
In that game, the Jackrabbits shot just 30 percent in the first half and trailed at one point by 11, but went 14-of-18 from the free throw line in the second half to secure the come-from-behind win. Daum provided a big boost off the SDSD bench with 17 points and seven rebounds. Pre-season all-conference guard Garret Covington led the Leathernecks with 20 points.
Western Illinois (9-14/2-10) enters the weekend in last place in the Summit League standings, and is in danger of not qualifying for the conference tournament, which only takes the top eight teams. WIU is the poorest shooting team in the league and is next-to-last in scoring, three-point shooting, offensive rebounding, and turnovers. Covington, a junior, is sixth in the league in scoring. Senior Tate Stensgaard, a Rapid City native, is tenth in rebounding.
Tipoff is 2:00 PM in Macomb, Saturday afternoon
Against the Mavericks, the Jackrabbits shot 58 percent in the first half and led by as many as ten, but UNO shot 58 percent in the second half and outscored SDSU by ten in the final 20 minutes to win by four.
Omaha gets to the free throw line more than any team in the Summit League and that played a big factor in this game. UNO attempted 17 more free throws than SDSU and outscored the Jacks 19-11 at the line. Tra-Deon Hollins was 8-of-11 from the charity stripe and finished with a game-high 28 points. South Dakota State got seven three-pointers from Reed Tellinghuisen, part of a school record tying 15 triples. He finished the night with a team-high 21 points. Daum added 20 points.
At home against the Coyotes, the Jackrabbits struggled defensively early, falling behind by as many as 11 points in the first half. But a 30-2 SDSU run erased that deficit in a hurry. Daum and Marshall combined for 46 points, while the SDSU defense forced 16 turnovers.
I talked with Jackrabbits head coach Scott Nagy about last week's games and this week's match-ups with Fort Wayne and Western Illinois: