Summit League Preview: South Dakota State Men at Oral Roberts
After dropping three of their first four Summit League games this season, the South Dakota State men's basketball team is looking for anything to spin positively heading into week three of conference action.
This week the Jackrabbits have two things working in their favor. They only have one game on the schedule, and it's against a team they've beaten six straight times, including all three meetings last season.
Oral Roberts (4-13/0-3) is the only team winless in Summit League play after two weeks. The Golden Eagles have dropped three straight, all on the road, and defense has been the biggest issue.
ORU is allowing the most points per game (88), and the highest opponents' percentage from the three-point line (53%). They are the worst three-point shooting team in the league and have struggled with big deficits early in games.
The Golden Eagles have three players who average in double figures. 6'9 center Albert Owens averages 15 points a game, while Jalen Bradley and Kris Martin have each scored 14 per game. Emmanuel Nzekwesi's seven rebounds a game leads the team.
Despite a slow start to the season, Oral Roberts is much better at home. All four of their wins this season have come in the Mabee Center.
Tipoff is 7:00 PM in Tulsa, Wednesday.
Last week, South Dakota State dropped a pair of games.
Wednesday in Macomb, it was a game of runs early. The Jacks trailed by ten in the first half before reeling off 13 straight, as AJ Hess contributed a pair of three-pointers. He Finished with a double-double (13 points/14 rebounds).
Mke Daum got into foul trouble and was limited to just 19 minutes of playing time, but Michael Orris filled in nicely, and finished the night with 17 points.
SDSU pushed their six-point halftime edge to as many as nine early in the second half, but three-point shooting brought Western Illinois back. The Leathernecks heated up from the outside with five triples in a five miniute stretch to go from seven down to nine up. Dalan Ancrum finshed the night 4-of-4 from behind the arc, and all-conference player Garret Covington showed why he's so valuable, scoring 22 points on perfect 6-of-6 shooting from the three-point line. He also dished off seven assists.
Western Illinois made 16 three's in the game and recorded 22 assists on 26 made baskets in the 82-74 win.
Back at Frost Arena against Omaha, Saturday, South Dakota State went away from their tendency to start games strong and struggle in the second half.
Against the Mavericks, the Jackrabbits gave up 11 first half three-pointers, and trailed by as many as 24, as UNO scored 55 points in the first half.
The Jacks got off the deck in the second half, riding the back of their best player, Mike Daum. In the second 20 minutes, Daum was 7-of-13 from the floor with a trio of three-pointers and 19 points, as SDSU closed the gap to to two with a minute to play. Daum finished with 28 points and ten rebounds.
The final 60 second featured nothing but free throws, as the Jacks went 0-of-4 from the field, and the Mavericks took advantage, outscoring SDSU 8-2 from the charity stripe to escape with a 101-93 victory.
Marcus Tyus had a big night for Omaha, with 34 points, including eight three-pointers. as a team, the Mavericks hit 16 triples.
For SDSU, Ian Theisen had a nice game off the bench, scoring 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting, in 19 minutes.
The Jackrabbits scored 52 points in the paint and forced 17 Omaha turnovers.
I talked with South Dakota State head coach TJ Otzelberger about last week's losses and the game at Oral Roberts this week: