If the South Dakota State men's basketball team is going to climb back into the Summit League race this week, they're going to have to beat two of the quickest teams the conference has to offer.

The Jackrabbits (8-12/1-4) begin the week at IUPUI tonight (January 18).

The Jaguars (8-11/2-3) have lost three-of-four, but have the highest tempo offense in the league, leading the Summit in shot attempts per game. They are also the second best three-point shooting team in the conference so far.

A pair of seniors lead them in scoring, Darrel Combs is fourth in the Summit with 17 points per game, Matt O'Leary averages 15 a game and is fourth in three-point shooting.

IUPUI is very good on the glass, tops in the league in offensive rebounding, second in total rebounds.

Tipoff is 6:00 PM (CT) in Indianapolis.

Saturday (January 21), SDSU is back home to host Summit League pre-season favorite Fort Wayne.

The Mastodons (14-5/3-2) have the highest scoring offense in the conference with a trio of players that lead them on offense. Senior Mo Evans is third in the league, averaging 19 points per game. Junior Bryson Scott, a transfer from Purdue, averages 17 a game.

Fort Wayne is in the top five in the nation in three-point shooting.

Sophomore John Konchar is in the top five in the nation with a 67 percent field goal percentage, while senior Brent is fifth in the Summit with a 54 percent success rate. Calhoun is also second in blocked shots.

Tipoff is 4:30 PM in Brookings.

Last week, South Dakota State dropped its only game of the week, 94-88, at Oral Roberts.

Both teams shot the ball exceptionally well in the early going, hitting a combined 13 of their first 18 shot attempts (72%) in the first five minutes. The game featured great rhythm and flow in the first 20 minutes with only five fouls called.

SDSU forward Ian Theisen, who hit all four of his shots early, went down twice in the first half, the first time for a few minutes, the second sent him to the bench for the rest of the game after just five minutes on the floor.

Golden Eagles center Albert Owens was tough on the Jackrabbit defense all night inside, going 10-of-16 for 24 points, while grabbing nine rebounds.

SDSU trailed by a point at halftime, despite shooting 65 percent. One of the key reasons was no free throw attempts, despite being one of the best teams in the nation at getting to the charity stripe, coming in.

In the second half, ORU got a little breathing room with a 9-0 run, sparked by five points from the free throw line, to take an 11-point lead. SDSU then scored 13 of the next 15 points to tie the game at 83 with less than 2:00 minutes to play. Mike Daum had two baskets during that stretch, four of his game-high 32 points.

But over the next 90 seconds, the Jackrabbits went cold, missing six straight, while Oral Roberts was knocking down 7-of-8 from the free throw line, giving them a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

I talked with South Dakota State head coach TJ Otzelberger about last week's loss at Oral Roberts and this week's match-ups with IUPUI and Fort Wayne:


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