Summit League Preview: South Dakota State Men Host Oral Roberts, Denver
Only two teams still have perfect records after two weeks of Summit League play. But all that will change Thursday (January 11) in Brookings.
That's the night the South Dakota State men's basketball team (14-5/2-0 Summit League) hosts Oral Roberts (7-11/3-0).
The Golden Eagles struggled through non-conference play under new head coach Paul Mills, who replaced Scott Sutton this season in Tulsa.
But after going 4-11 to start the year, ORU has started to figure things out, just in time to reel off three straight wins to start league play.
The Golden Eagles are the most dominant team on the offensive boards in the Summit. They've grabbed 10 or more offensive boards 14 times in 18 games - 49 in all in three conference wins.
Sophomores Javan White and Emmanuel Nzekwesi are both in the top five in rebounding in the Summit.
Offensively, ORU distributes the ball better than any team in the conference (16 assists per game). They are also very balanced in the scoring column with four players averaging in double figures.
Senior Albert Owens is one of the top Sixth Men in the league. Last season, he came off the bench to score 43 points and shoot 58 percent in two games against the Jackrabbits.
Tipoff is 7:00 PM, Thursday in Brookings.
Saturday (January 13) SDSU closes out their quick two-game home stand with a match-up against Denver.
The Pioneers (6-10/0-2) are in year two under head coach Rodney Billups and feature more tempo in their offense than in years past.
But poor long range and free throw shooting and turnovers led to back-to-back losses to start league play. In two games, Denver is just 31 percent from three, 68 percent from the line and turned it over 33 times, leading to 40 opponent's points, in losses to South Dakota and Fort Wayne.
Senior Daniel Amigo has been one of the few Pioneers red hot from the floor lately. He's hit 64 percent of his shots in the last seven games. The Jackrabbits defending him well last season, limiting Amigo to just 16 points on 25 percent shooting in two games.
This season, Amigo is averaging 16 points a game. Guard Joe Rosga scores 15 a game.
The one player who was instrumental in Denver's win over SDSU last season was guard Jake Pemberton. On the Pioneer's home floor, he hit five three-pointers and scored 25 points.
The Jacks defense shut Pemberton down in Brookings in the rematch, holding him to just four points.
Tipoff is 2:00 PM, Saturday in Brookings.
The Jackrabbits opened Summit League play with an 87-80 win at North Dakota State, last Wednesday (January 3).
The Bison grabbed an early 7-0 lead, but SDSU scored 10 of the next 12 points to grab the lead. Mike Daum had seven points during that stretch.
NSDU re-took the lead and extended it to as many as 11 points in the first half, before the Jacks once again responded, pulling to within one at intermission.
South Dakota State's defense really stepped up in the second half, limiting the Bison to just 30 percent from the floor while the Jacks were hitting 52 percent at the other end, using a 16-5 run midway through the half to pull away for good.
Mike Daum led all scorers with 37 points, including going 16-of-16 from the free throw line. Reed Tellinghuisen continued his red hot shooting, going 9-of-13 with four three-pointers. Over a seven game stretch, Tellinghuisen is shooting at a 66 percent clip.
Paul Miller had 36 points in a losing effort for the Bison.
In Omaha, Saturday (January 6), the Jackrabbits again fell behind early, missing their first five shots. But State then connected on nine of the next ten to grab an 11-point lead that they never gave back in 101-88 win.
David Jenkins Jr. scored eight straight points during one stretch and finished with 22 points and four three-pointers in a game where the Jacks hit 13 long range shots.
Daum had another double-double - 27 points and eleven rebounds. Skyler Flatten had four three-pointers and 12 points. In all, five Jackrabbits scored in double figures.
For the game, SDSU shot 57 percent from the floor, 54 percent from the three-point line. They also went 18-of-20 from the free throw line.
I talked with South Dakota State assistant coach Rob Klinkefus about the NDSU and Omaha wins and the match-ups with Oral Roberts and Denver: