SDSU Men Outslug Western Illinois To Take Lead In Summit
In the final game of his career at Frost Arena, South Dakota State senior guard Nate Wolters carried the Jackrabbits to victory and first place in the Summit League standings Saturday, 64-55 over Western Illinois.
Wolters scored 18 of his game high 28 points in the second half in front of a sellout crowd at Frost Arena. The 28 was Wolters' highest point total ever against Western Illinois. He also dished out six of the Jackrabbits 12 assists.
As expected, defense played a big part in this game, especially in the first half, as the Leathernecks kept SDSU off the scoreboard for the first 4:11, as the Jacks began the game 0-6 from the floor.
Junior forward Jordan Dykstra jump started the South Dakota State offense briefly, scoring five of the Jacks first seven points, as SDSU made four of their next six shots to open up a nine point advantage. Dykstra finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, his seventh double-double of the season. The Jackrabbits are perfect this season when he reaches double figures in scoring and rebounding.
When the cold shooting returned later in the half, the Jacks went to work on the offensive boards, grabbing eight offensive rebounds in the first half, to offset 29 percent shooting, to take a 25-19 lead into the locker room.
SDSU played some defense of their own in the first half, holding the Leathernecks to 38 percent shooting, and forcing eight turnovers.
In the second half, Western Illinois went to their inside game with Terrell Parks and Adam Link each hitting four early points, as the Leathernecks rallied to tie the game and send SDSU's Tony Fiegen to the bench with four fouls.
But that's when Wolters took over on both ends of the floor, as he turned steals into points and helped stretch the Jacks lead to as many as 11 points. Western Illinois had several chances to cut into that advantage, but the Leathernecks went just three-of-11 from the free throw line.
The win was the ninth straight for SDSU in the series, their school and Summit League record 30th straight at home, and most importantly, a victory that moves them into a half-game lead in the standings with one weekend on conference action to go.
The Jackrabbits now have non-conference games at Cal State-Bakersfield and Murray State next Thursday and Saturday, before closing out Summit League play at Omaha, February 28th.