Jackrabbits Outgunned At Oakland
It was the match-up of the top two players in the Summit League - the pure shooter and the play maker - a head-to-head battle between Oakland's Travis Bader and South Dakota State's Nate Wolters, and it didn't disappoint. The difference was the bench play Saturday, Oakland had one, South Dakota State didn't, as SDSU's eight-win streak came to an end with a 88-83 loss at Oakland.
Wolters, one game removed from an NCAA high 53 points this season, used his slashing skills and outside shooting to score 36 points, Bader knocked down nine three-pointers, including six in the first half, to finish with 31 points. Oakland drained 16 three's in the game.
While those two superstars were going toe-to-toe, it was Oakland's sixth man who made all of the difference in this one. Duke Mondy hit ten-of-17 from the floor, including four three's, to go with six rebounds, six assists, and four steals to single-handedly outscore the Jackrabbit bench 26-0.
After the teams swapped the lead 14 times in the first 14 minutes of the first half, the Golden Grizzlies pushed the lead to seven with 6:30 to play. The Jacks responded with a 13-0 run just before the break, snapped by a Mondy buzzer beater the cut the SDSU lead to 42-38 at intermission.
In the second half, Mondy took over with 16 of his 26 in the final 20 minutes, as Oakland started the half with a 26-13 run, eventually pushing the lead to ten points with 1:34 left. The Jacks got three-pointers from Wolters, Chad White, and Brayden Carlson down the stretch to cut the lead to five, but the Golden Grizzlies hit their free throws late to preserve the victory.
Wolters now owns SDSU's all-time career assist mark, with 609, breaking the old record of 605 assists, set by Brian Norberg from 1995-99.
SDSU's winless streak in the O'Rena is now six. The win extended quite a run for Oakland in Summit League play. From February 5th to March 5th, the Golden Grizzlies have not lost a conference game since 2008.
The Jackrabbits are back home next week, hosting IUPUI Thursday and Western Illinois Saturday.