South Dakota State Blows 14-Point Lead, Loses By 11 at Murray State
Defensive breakdowns, turnovers, missed opportunities, and a red hot superstar guard all added up to a big second half letdown for South Dakota State, Saturday night, in the 2013 BracketBuster game at Murray State, as SDSU fell to the Racers 73-62.
A 14 point Jackrabbit lead with three minutes gone in the second half became a ten point Racers advantage less than 13 minutes later, as Murray State went on a 33-9 run, sparked by the Ohio Valley Conference's Pre-Season Player of the Year, guard Isaiah Canaan.
Canaan, the tenth leading scorer in the nation coming into the game, erupted for 16 points in the second half, on 6-of-10 shooting, after a relatively quiet six points in the first 20 minutes.
While Canaan and Murray State (20-7) were flourishing, South Dakota State (21-9) was floundering, turning the ball over eight times in the second half, grabbing just one offensive rebound, and hitting just three-of-ten three point attempts.
The Jackrabbits were also hampered by an injury to their floor leader, Nate Wolters. The senior guard landed hared on his back going in for a layup in the first half, and by the midway point of the second half, he was noticeably hurt. Wolters played through the pain and did lead SDSU with 18 points and five assists.
Tony Fiegen and Jordan Dykstra struggled shooting the ball Saturday night. Fiegen missed all four of his first half shots, finishing two-of-nine for four points overall, Dykstra missed all four of his shots in the second half, finishing three-of-nine for nine points.
In the first half, the Jackrabbits used the national stage provided by ESPN2 to showcase its long range shooting abilities, as SDSU buried six first half three-pointers, three during a 14-0 run, as they led by as many as 14.
The Racers weren't going away easily though. Murray State went on a 15-4 run of their own, including a trio of three-pointers, to trim the SDSU lead to 34-31 with 1:55 left.
South Dakota State recovered with a Chad White three and Marcus Heemstra put back at the buzzer to score five of the last seven points of the half, to take a 39-33 lead at intermission.
The Jacks then scored the first eight of the second half to re-gain a 14 point advantage, before Murray State came storming back. When the dust settled in Kentucky, the final numbers were not good for the visitors: outscored 19-10 off turnovers, 13-4 on second chance points, 17-6 off the bench, 28-16 in the paint, and 16-4 on fast break points.
There is one final regular season left game for SDSU, a conference game next Thursday at Omaha. A win against the Mavericks will clinch at least a share of the Jackrabbits first ever Summit League regular season championship and secure the top seed at next month's Summit League Tournament in Sioux Falls.