If the South Dakota State men's basketball team is going to have any chance of pulling off a Cinderella run at the 2017 Summit League next month, they've got to make sure they're in the field of eight.

For now, the Jackrabbits (12-16/5-8) hold down the final qualifying spot, heading into the final three games of the conference schedule.

This week, the SDSU defense faces back-to-back tests against a couple of high powered offenses.

Wednesday (February 15), the Jackrabbits host IUPUI.

The Jaguars (11-15/5-7) have won two-of-three, including a win at home against first place North Dakota State. They have won twice on the road in conference play this season (Oral Roberts, Omaha).

IUPUI attempts the second most shots per game of any team in the league, and have the second highest three-point shooting percentage.

Leading scorer Darell Combs is on a tear, hitting 56 percent of his shots and averaging 18 points per game in his last two. Fellow seniors Matt O'Leary and Kellon Thomas also average in double figures in scoring.

IUPUI is the conference leader in offensive rebounding with Evan Hall and DJ McCall both in the top five.

The Jaguars won first meeting 85-83 in overtime, in a game that featured 10 lead changes and 15 ties.

The Jackrabbits scored 52 points in the paint in that one, but saw Mike Daum score in single digits (9 points) for the only time in the last ten games.

Ron Patterson led IUPUI off the bench with 19 points. Combs added 18. SDSU's Michael Orris led all scorers with 20 on 8-of-11 shooting.

Tipoff is 7:00 PM, Wednesday in Brookings. The Jaguars have not won in Brookings since 2010.

Saturday, SDSU travels to Fort Wayne.

The Mastodons (17-9/6-6) were a prohibitive favorite to win the Summit League regular season title, but have lost two-of-three to fall into the middle of the pack.

Fort Wayne is a much better team at home this season, with 12 of their 17 wins coming in front of their own fans. The Mastodons average 16 points per game more at home and shoot the ball seven percent better from the field, ten percent better from behind the three-point arc..

They have the most prolific offense in the Summit, leading in shots attempted and made, three-pointers attempted and made, and points per game. Mo Evans and Purdue transfer Bryson Scott are both in the top ten in scoring. John Konchar is the most accurate three-point shooting in the league.

Fort Wayne also distributes the ball better than anyone, with Evans and Konchar second and third in the Summit, averaging a combined ten assists per game.

Konchar also leads the conference in rebounding.

South Dakota State won the first meeting 77-67 thanks to a plus-12 edge in rebounding, 17 three-pointers, and 45 second half points.

Daum had a huge night for the Jackrabbits, scoring 26 of his game high 42 points in the second half. For the game, Daum was 14-of-23 from the field with ten three's.

Scott had 21 points to lead Fort Wayne.

Tipoff is 6:00 PM, Saturday in Fort Wayne.

Last week, the Jackrabbits dropped a pair of games on the road.

Wednesday (February 8), SDSU fell behind by ten in the first half at North Dakota State, AJ Jacobson scored 14 of his career-high 26 in the first half.

The Bison later went on a 14-0 run in the second half and got some key three-point shooting from Jared Samuelson to win 82-65.

NDSU out shot SDSU 52 to 37 percent.

Saturday (February 11) in Vermillion, the Jackrabbits and South Dakota pit on a shooting clinic at the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.

Both teams shot better than 50 percent from the field and behind the three-point line in USD's 91-89 win.

State's Reed Tellinghuisen and the U's Matt Mooney were in the zone all day. The two combined to shoot 13 three-pointers (hitting an impressive 54 percent of their long range shots) and score 53 points.

The Coyotes built a 14-point lead with 15:00 to play, thanks to 15 offensive rebounds which led to 18 second chance points.

SDSU mounted a big second half rally, fueled by five Tellinghuisen three's during one stretch to take a one-point lead.

But Mooney responded with a trio of triples to put the Coyotes back in front for good.

The USD defense limited Daum to just nine points from the floor, but he added another 13 at the free throw line to score 22 on the day. Tyler Flack scored 23 for the Cotyotes on 8-of-111 shooting.

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


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