Summit League Preview: South Dakota State Men Host Denver
The final week of the 2017 Summit League basketball season is beginning to look a lot like a big, spinning wheel at a carnival - where it stops nobody knows.
Take the South Dakota State men's basketball team.
The Jackrabbits (14-16/7-8), who won just twice in their first eight conference games this season, could finish with the number three seed at next week's Summit League Tournament with a win at home over Denver, Saturday (February 25), and some help.
Then again, with a loss to the Pioneers, and some other factors, SDSU could be looking at a number-seven seed in Sioux Falls.
That's how much things could swing on the final day of the regular season with just one game separating third thru seventh place in the standings.
Denver (16-11/8-6) comes to Frost Arena as the top shooting and top rebounding team in the Summit, but are in danger of slipping out of the number three seed after losing three-of-four.
Denver has shot the ball well in the last three (52%), but has allowed 21 three-pointers in back-to-back losses to IUPUI and Omaha.
Junior center Daniel Amigo is in the top ten in the conference in scoring and rebounding. Sophomore guard Joe Rosga averages 16 points per game.
Tipoff is 4:00 PM in Brookings, Saturday.
Denver won the first meeting 91-82, as Jake Pemberton set career highs with 25 points and five three-pointers.
The Pioneers led by as many as 18 in the second half before SDSU closed to within seven with 2:30 to go. Denver made six free throws in the final 57 seconds to seal the win. They also won the rebounding battle, 38-27.
The Jackrabbits made 15 three-pointers, but were outscored 20-9 at the free throw line.
Wednesday (February 15), SDSU beat IUPUI 81-67, despite shooting just 38 percent in the first half and trailing by seven at intermission.
The Jackrabbits erupted for 55 second half points, thanks to 61 percent shooting. Mike Daum scored 16 of his game high 26 points in the second 20 minutes. On the night Daum was 12-of-12 from the free throw line. Reed Tellinghusien also had a big second half with four three-pointers and 14 points. He finished the night with 16 points and also blocked four shots.
The South Dakota State defense kept IUPUI under 40 percent shooting for the night, while winning the rebounding battle, 40-34.
Saturday (February 18), SDSU won at Fort Wayne 97-89, as Daum posted the nation's top scoring performance of the year - 51 points.
The sophomore was 14-of-29 from the floor, hit seven three-pointers, made 16-of-17 from the free throw line, and pulled 15 rebounds.
Skyler Flatten added 14 points off the bench. Chris Howell (12 points) scored in double figures for the fifth time in seven games.
The Jacks won despite allowing the Mastodons to shoot 52 percent.
I talked with South Dakota State head coach TJ Otzelberger about last week's wins and this week's match-up with Denver: