Summit League Preview: Jackrabbit Men at Oral Roberts, South Dakota
After ripping through a challenging non-conference schedule with 12 wins in 15 games, South Dakota State has hit its first rough patch of the season, thanks to a combination of injuries, cold shooting, and tough Summit League competition.
The Jackrabbits have dropped two-of-three in the league with all three of their pre-season all-conference guards banged up. Deondre Parks has been limited in practice, while George Marshall missed six games at one point, and Jake Bittle still hasn't returned after being out of the lineup for the last seven.
With that uncertainty as a backdrop, SDSU has been inconsistent in their energy levels, especially early in games, and has devolved from a very good shooting team to one of the poorest in the Summit League after three weeks.
In their first eleven games of the season, the Jackrabbits shot 45 percent or better seven times, in their last nine they've done it just once.
SDSU (14-5/3-2) will try to find their shooting touch on the road this week.
First up is a game at Oral Roberts.The Golden Eagles (11-9/3-3) have won three straight after dropping their first three Summit League Games. ORU turned the ball over 20 or more times in two of those losses, but have averaged only 12 in their current winning streak.
Pre-season conference player of the year Obi Emegano is the offensive catalyst, averaging better than 24 points per game in Summit League play. He's coming off a 30-point performance against Western Illinois last week.
As a team, Oral Roberts is the league's most accurate behind the three-point line, hitting nearly 46 percent.
Tipoff is 7:00 PM in Tulsa Thursday.
The Jackrabbits finish the week at South Dakota.
The Coyotes (10-10/2-4) stopped a three-game skid with a 76-67 win over Western Illinois Wednesday night. With his team down by ten, Casey Kasperbauer went on a tear for USD, hitting six-of-seven during one nine-minute stretch of the second half. He finished the game with 26 points. Tre Burnette added 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Through the first six games of conference play, South Dakota is near the bottom in rebounding, free throw shooting, and fouls per game.
Junior college transfer Shy McClelland has been a nice addition to the Coyote lineup this season. He's averaging 14 points per game in conference play.
Tipoff is 4:00 PM in Vermillion Saturday.
I talked with Jackrabbits head coach Scott Nagy about last week's split and this week's games with Oral Roberts and South Dakota: