Men’s Basketball: Week 9 Preview
As we head into the final three weekends of play in Summit League men's basketball, both South Dakota State and South Dakota are looking for repeat performances against their Thursday night opponents, IUPUI and Oakland.
The Jackrabbits (10-3) begin the weekend in a two-way tie for second place with North Dakota State, one-half game behind Western Illinois in the standings, with the Leathernecks coming to Brookings Saturday night.
Before entertaining the top team in the conference, SDSU plays host to the worst team in the Summit, IUPUI. The Jaguars (1-11) are riding a ten-game losing streak, and are looking for their first road win since December 23rd.
The Jackrabbits, meanwhile, have been doing nothing but winning at home lately, 28 straight victories in Frost Arena, the second longest active streak in Division I behind Syracuse.
South Dakota State is trying to rebound from an 88-83 loss at Oakland Saturday. A game which saw the Jacks squander a four-point halftime lead, and get outscored 26-0 off the bench. Nate Wolters had a weekend to remember with 88 points in two games, including the high game in college basketball this season, 53 points at Fort Wayne last Thursday.
SDSU needs Jordan Dykstra to step up this weekend. The junior had scored in double figures in 15 of the previous 20 games, including five straight heading into last weekend, when he was held to just seven points in two games.
The Jacks also need a better defensive effort, after failing to stop Oakland on several key second half possessions last weekend.
IUPUI is led by a pair of juniors, Mitchell Patton, the ninth leading scorer in the league, and Donovan Gibbs, who's seventh in rebounding.
In the first meeting, the Jacks shot 59 percent in the first half, racing out to a 24 point lead at the break, coasting to an 80-65 win. Brayden Carlson had 18 points, as all five SDSU starters scored in double figures. The Jags were just three-of-13 from behind the three-point line. The Jacks did allow 12 IUPUI offensive rebounds, as the Jags finished plus four on the boards.
Tipoff is 7:00pm at Frost Arena.
South Dakota is trying to duplicate one of its best performances of the season when they host Oakland tonight. The Coyotes (4-8) are the last team to beat the Golden Grizzlies (8-4), who have won five straight.
In their first meeting, USD set or tied season highs in points scored (97), field goals made (34), shooting percentage (58%), and free throw percentage (95%), in a 97-78 win, the only home loss for Oakland this season.
The Coyote defense also played well that night, forcing a Golden Grizzlies season high 18 turnovers, while limiting the Summit League's leading scorer, Travis Bader, to just 19 points.
That victory was USD's last win, as the Coyotes have dropped four straight since then. South Dakota's numbers are way down during that stretch, averaging just 55 points a game (after scoring 97 at Oakland), while hitting just 45 percent of their shots (after draining 58 percent at Oakland).
USD has really struggled in three-point and free throw shooting in their last three losses, going 13-of-43 (30%) from behind the arc, and just 68 percent from the stripe, ten percent off their season average.
Senior guard Juevol Myles, the Coyotes leading scorer, has been struggling so far in February, shooting just 29 percent and averaging 11 points a game. Junior center Trevor Gruis has been picking up some of the scoring slack, with double figure performances in seven of the last eight games.
USD is trying to avoid its first three-game home losing streak in 13 years. Tipoff is 7:00pm at the DakotaDome.