Summit League Preview: South Dakota State Men at Omaha, North Dakota State
As we tipoff week eight of the 2019 Summit League schedule, South Dakota State has a golden opportunity to put some significant distance between them and the rest of the field in the conference standings.
The Jackrabbits (20-6/10-1 Summit League), who already have a game-and-a-half edge with three weeks to play, take to the road to take on two of the three teams on their heels.
It starts in Omaha Thursday (February 14).
The Mavericks (14-9/8-2 Summit League) have only lost once in their last eight games, a ten-point setback in Brookings last month.
UNO will be coming in fresh off a week-long stretch between games. They have the number-one offensive attack in the Summit, averaging 63 shot attempts and 87 points per game.
Senior guard Zach Jackson leads a group of five double-figure scorers with 18 points per game. He's scored 49 in his last two on 62 percent shooting.
The Mavericks turn the ball over the fewest number of times of any team in the Summit but give up more points than anyone.
Five of the league's top ten scorers will be on the floor in this game.
Tipoff is 7:00 PM, Thursday (February 14) in Omaha.
The Jackrabbits won the first meeting 83-73.
In that game, the SDSU defense held Omaha to their worst shooting percentage (41%) since early December. The Jacks shot 55 percent in the first half and grabbed a lead that they never relinquished.
UNO closed to within three points with 16:19 to play in the second half but South Dakota State scored 14 of the next 21 points to extend the lead to ten points.
Mike Daum's 33 points and 16 rebounds led the way for SDSU. KJ Robinson had 23 for Omaha.
Saturday (February 16) the Jackrabbits play at North Dakota State.
The Bison (13-12/7-4 Summit League) have won four straight overall and nine-of-ten at home this season.
They have the league's second-best defense and have been guarding the three-point line well during their winning streak holding three-of-four opponents to 30 percent or less from behind the arc.
NDSU has been a prolific three-point shooting team lately, draining double-digits in three-pointers in four-of-five after managing that just once in their previous four games.
Junior guards Tyson Ward and Vinnie Shahid both score around 13 points per game while Sioux Falls native Deng Geu is one of the top reserve players in the Summit, averaging 11 points in about 18 minutes of work each game.
Tipoff is 4:00 PM, Saturday (February 16) in Fargo.
The Jackrabbits won the first meeting 87-69.
SDSU's defense grabbed ten steals in the game and forced 18 turnovers in the game.
NDSU attempted 31 three-pointers in the game, the most in their last 17 games, but only connected on 10 of them (32%). Tyson Ward was 8-of-14 for 18 points but the rest of the Bison starters went just 3-of-17.
Daum had 30 points and 17 rebounds to lead South Dakota State, who shot 61 percent in the first half and led by 19 at intermission..
Last week, the Jackrabbits ran their current winning streak to nine games with an 80-55 win at home over North Dakota.
It was a game that saw SDSU shoot lights out from inside the three-point line and struggle greatly from behind it.
The Jackrabbits made 77 percent (27-of-35) of their two-point attempts in the game but only three of their 25 long-range attempts.
The Fighting Hawks used a 14-4 run to close to within a point at halftime but SDSU responded with an 18-2 run in the second half to put the game out of reach.
Daum led the way with 29 points and 20 rebounds. Alex Arians had one of the best games of his college career going 6-of-7 from the floor for 15 points. He added six rebounds.
Tevin King had eight points, six assists, and five rebounds for the Jacks.
SDSU won the battle of the boards by 13 and outscored UND 52-20 inside.
I talked to South Dakota State associate head coach Eric Henderson about last week's win and the match-ups with Omaha and North Dakota State: