The regular season comes to a close this weekend for the Jackrabbits, who put their perfect 12-0 home record on the line against the Western Illinois Fighting Leathernecks on Thursday on Military Appreciation Night at 7 p.m., and then close the regular season on Saturday in the Corduroy Classic against the IUPUI Jaguars at 7:30 p.m.
The Jackrabbits return to action after making their home national television debut last Saturday with an 86-65 win over Buffalo in the SEARS BracketBusters that aired live on ESPNU. SDSU made the most of its first-ever nationally televised game at Frost Arena, as did the 5,378 who showed up to watch the win live and in person.
The Jackrabbits led wire to wire in improving to 12-0 on their home floor. The game was tied four times in the opening minutes, the last at 11-all, before Jordan Dykstra gave SDSU the lead for good with a three-pointer.
SDSU held Buffalo without a field goal for more than an eight-minute span later in the half, during which the Jackrabbits went on a 10-0 run to open a 31-18 lead. Taévaunn Prince's tip-in just before the first-half buzzer gave SDSU a 38-26 lead at intermission.
The Bulls trimmed the deficit to single digits, 48-40 with 13:22 to play, on back-to-back three-pointers by Zach Filzen. However, the Jackrabbits answered with three-pointers on consecutive trips down the floor by Callahan and Nate Wolters.
Wolters led the Jackrabbits with 22 points, eight assists and six rebounds, while Callahan scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half. Tony Fiegen rounded out SDSU's double-digit scorers with 11 points.
RABBITS ON THE RADIO - Originated from the AM 570 WNAX studios in Yankton, S.D., SDSU men's basketball games can be heard on a total of five stations throughout South Dakota on the Jackrabbit Sports Network.
- 570 AM - WNAX - Yankton
- 910 AM - KJJQ "The Ranch" - Brookings
- 1060 AM - KGFX - Pierre
- 950 AM KWAT or 96.9 FM KDLO - Watertown
- 99.5 FM - KRKI - Rapid City
Pierre, S.D., native Tyler Merriam takes over the play-by-play duties in 2011-12, replacing six-time winner of the South Dakota Associated Press Sportscaster of the Year and 1998 National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association South Dakota Sportscaster of the Year, Steve Imming, who retired in 2011.
THE JACKRABBIT EXTRA ON GoJacks.com - Subscribers to the Jackrabbit Extra on GoJacks.com watch every Jackrabbit home game and select road games streaming live on the internet. That select list includes Saturday's game at Western Illinois. In addition, subscribers can listen to every game, home and on the road, streaming live on the internet.
To learn more about the Jackrabbit Extra, or to subscribe, log onto GoJacks.com and click on "SIGN UP NOW"
THE JACKRABBIT BASKETBALL RADIO SHOW - Hosted by Tyler Merriam live from Cubby's Sports Bar and Grill in downtown Brookings, the show airs on Tuesdays from 6-7 p.m., and can be heard live on the Jackrabbit Sports Network. Subscribers to the Jackrabbit Extra on GoJacks.com can also listen to the broadcasts streaming live on the Internet.
THE JACKRABBIT INSIDER ON FOX - Fans of SDSU Athletics can get a weekly behind-the-scenes look at all 21 Jackrabbit varsity sports teams by tuning into "The Jackrabbit Insider."
Hosted by Tyler Merriam, the show airs on Sundays on KTTW FOX 17 at 10:30 p.m., and can also be seen on Fox Sports North at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays.
JACKS POST FIRST 20-WIN SEASON AT DIVISON I - The South Dakota State Men's Basketball team beat UMKC 75-62 on Feb. 11, for their 20th win of the season, and first at the Division I level. The program now boasts 20 seasons with at least 20 wins, nine of which came during the Scott Nagy era, with the last being a school-record 27 win season in 2003-04, the program's final season in Division II.
WOLTERS CLIMBS THE 1,000-POINT CLUB LADDER - Nate Wolters became the 42nd member of the SDSU 1,000-Point Club in a win over Sam Houston State on Nov. 22, and instantly began the climb up the all time list. Wolters enters the weekend with 1,517 career points, good for fifth all-time at SDSU, 18 points shy of passing Steve Brown (1,534 points from 1974-78) for fourth on the all-time list.
WOLTERS NEARS SDSU JUNIOR SCORING RECORD - Wolters enters the final weekend of the regular season averaging 21.8 points per game with a total of 610 points so far this season, 24 points shy of breaking the junior scoring record at SDSU of 633 points, set by Chris White in 1990-91.
WOLTERS CHASES ALL-TIME SCORING RECORD - Nate Wolters scored 907 points in his first two years as a Jackrabbit, including the SDSU sophomore record with 604 points. His 610 points this season gives him 1,517 career points, leaving him 415 points shy of the record of 1,931, set by Mark Tetzlaff from 1981-85.
MORE THAN JUST A SCORER - In addition to his scoring prowess, Nate Wolters continues his climb up the all-time assists charts at SDSU. His 188 assists as a sophomore last year represents the third best single-season total in SDSU history, his 170 this season ties him for the seventh best total for a single season, and his 444 career assists ranks third all-time at SDSU, putting him well on pace to break the all-time mark of 605 assists, set by Brian Norberg from 1995-99.
NOT JUST NATE - Nate Wolters leads the Jacks with 21.8 points per game and reached double figures in all 28 games he played in this season, but he gets plenty of help. In addition to Wolters' 28 games in double figures, the Jackrabbits combined for 74 double-figure performances this season in 29 games. At least four Jackrabbits scored 10 points in the same game 13 times this season, with five players reaching double figures five times and six players once.
CALLAHAN FOR THREE - SDSU's lone senior Griffan Callahan entered the season with 88 career three-pointers and a season-high of 55, set last year as a junior. Callahan enters his final home games with 68 threes this season for a career total of 156, good for fifth all-time at SDSU. In addition to the career total, Callahan hit a career-high seven three-pointers at Nebraska on Nov. 26, which ties him for third all-time at SDSU in a single game, something his older brother Garrett did twice.
IN THE MERRY OLD LAND OF OZ - The Jackrabbits beat major conference foes Iowa State in 2008 and Iowa in 2010, but neither the Big 12 Cyclones nor the Big Ten Hawkeyes entered those games with a 32 game non-conference winning streak at home or entered those seasons after making three-straight NCAA Tournament Appearances. The Pac 12's Washington Huskies brought both of those credential into their game with the Jackrabbits on Dec. 18, and while they still may make their four straight NCAA Tournament, the Jacks snapped the Huskies 32 game non-conference home winning streak with a convincing 92-73 win at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle, Wash.
Nate Wolters led the Jackrabbits with a season-high 34 points, adding five rebounds, seven assists and no turnovers. Four other Jackrabbits also scored in double figures, led by Griffan Callahan with 16 points. Chad White finished with 12 points, all of which came from beyond the three-point line, Jordan Dykstra added 11 and Tony Fiegen 10 points in the win.
HOT IN FROST - In addition to a perfect 12-0 record at home this season, the Jacks enter the final home weekend of the season riding a 15-game home winning streak. If the Jacks can close out the final weekend of the season with a pair of wins, it would mark the third perfect home season in Frost Arena, and first since a 17-0 mark in 2002-03.
JACKS BACK IN MID-MAJOR TOP-25 - After cracking the collegeinsider.com Mid Major Top-25 for the first time this season at No. 25 on Dec. 19., the Jacks moved up to No. 23 in the poll released on Dec. 26, and moved up to No. 21 in the Jan. 2 poll, but fell out of the poll to receiving votes in the next four polls. The Jacks climbed back into the poll on Feb. 6, at No. 22, only to fall out of the poll completely in the poll released on Feb. 13.
Dominating wins over North Dakota State and Buffalo got the Jacks back in the poll on Feb. 20, at No. 23.
NAGY NOTCHES 300th CAREER WIN - Already the most prolific coach in SDSU history, head coach Scott Nagy entered the 2011-12 season with 289 wins, just 11 shy of reaching the 300-win milestone, which he reached in the Jackrabbits 94-58 win over IPFW on Dec. 28. Nagy enters today's game with a 311-197 career record and a .612 winning percentage.
NAGY TEAMS WITH SAMARITANS FEET - Head coach Scott Nagy teamed up with Samaritan's Feet in each of the last three seasons to raise money and shoes for children around the world, including Haiti, and the cause really hits home for Nagy and his family, especially after a major earthquake shook the country on Jan. 12, 2010."My wife Jamie and I adopted our daughter Naika from Haiti, so we've seen first-hand the need for shoes there," Nagy said.
Nagy raised over $6,000 for the relief efforts in Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake, and then took it to another level last season, when the entire Jackrabbit coaching staff coached in their bare feet against IPFW on Jan. 22, to raise money for shoes and shelters in Zimbabwe.
Nagy made it four years in a row this season when he coached barefoot in an 85-58 win over UMKC in Frost Arena on Jan. 14, and added a game on Feb. 18, when he coached in his bare feet in the Jacks nationally televised 86-65 win over Buffalo in the SEARS BracketBusters.
Jackrabbit fans can play their part again in 2012 by logging onto Jackrabbit fans can play their part again in 2012 by logging onto FirstGiving.com/fundraiser/coachnagy/barefoot and making a donation.
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS
Western Illinois Fighting Leathernecks (14-12, 8-8 Summit, 5-8 Away) - Picked to finish ninth in The Summit League preseason poll, which would leave them out of the league tournament, the Fighting Leathernecks enter the final weekend of the regular season ranked fifth in the league standings, and assured of a spot in next week's Summit League Championships.
Ceola Clark leads a trio of Leathernecks averaging double figure points with 14.2 per game. He also leads the team with 121 assists. Obi Emegano averages 13.3 points per game, while Terell Parks averages 11.6 points per game to go along with his team-high 8.9 rebounds per game.
The Series vs. Western Illinois - The Jackrabbits lead the all-time series 8-3, with a 5-0 mark at Frost Arena and with wins in each of the last five meetings overall, including a 67-66 win the last meeting on Dec. 3, 2011. The last Leatherneck win came in a 62-59 game in Macomb, Ill., on Feb. 7, 2009.
The Last Meeting, at Western Illinois: Dec. 3, 2011 - Chad White hit a pair of free throws with less than a second on the clock in at Western Illinois to put the Jackrabbits up 67-63. Good thing for the Jacks he did, because Western Illinois' Ceola Clark banked in a three-pointer from three-quarter court as time expired to make the final score 67-66, and an SDSU win.
The Jackrabbits and Fighting Leathernecks played to nine ties and 16 lead changes in the game, with seven ties and three lead changes in the first half before Western Illinois took a 25-24 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Each team led by as many as four points in a back-and-forth battle in the second half, before the Jacks went up for good at 59-58 on a White put back with two and a half minutes left to play.
The Leathernecks would cut the lead to one point with 30 seconds left, but White's free throws sealed the win with less than a second left, despite the desperation heave from Clark.
White finished the game with 12 points off the bench, as did Zach Horstman, which marks a season-high for the true freshman from Winner, S.D. Jordan Dykstra added 11 points off the bench, as the Jackrabbits got 41 points from their reserves, compared to 19 from the home team.
Nate Wolters tied for game-high honors with 17 points, adding seven rebounds and seven assists in the win. Griffan Callahan also tied for team-high honors with seven rebounds, but with five points, failed to score in double figures for a sixth straight game.
Obi Emegano led WIU with 17 points, Remy Roberts-Burnett added 16 and Ceola Clark an even 10 points in the loss. Clark also added a game-high nine rebounds.
IUPUI Jaguars (13-16, 6-10 Summit, 2-11 Away) - Winners of five of their last six games, the only loss on the Jaguars schedule over that span came in a 76-74 overtime loss at Oral Roberts on Feb. 9. Prior to the winning streak, IUPUI lost seven games in a row, all of them in league play.
Summit League preseason Player of the Year Alex Young leads the Jags with 20.9 points and with 5.9 rebounds per game. He also leads the team with 30 blocks and 47 steals. Stephen Thomas adds 11.1 points and 3.0 rebounds per game, and leads the team with 102 assists. Ian Chiles adds 10.1 points and 3.3 rebounds per game
The Series vs. IUPUI - The Jaguars lead the all-time series 6-3, although SDSU won each of the last two meetings. The Jacks beat the Jags on the road for the first time this season, and could get a 3-2 edge in Frost Arena with a win on Saturday.
The Last Meeting, at IUPUI: Dec. 1, 2011 - Summit League Preseason Player of the Year Alex Young scored 16 points, including four three-pointers, in the final five minutes of regulation to force an overtime period in Thursday's Summit League opener, but South Dakota State regained its poise in the extra frame, and went on to defeat IUPUI by the score of 97-93.
Nate Wolters led all-scorers with 32 points, adding a season-high eight rebounds and eight assists. Griffan Callahan scored 20 points in the win, and tied a career-high with 10 rebounds for his second-career double-double. Jordan Dykstra, seeing his first significant action in four games, scored 15 points off the bench.
The Jackrabbits led by as many as 15 points in the second half before Young erupted to give IUPUI its first lead since the 15:53 mark of the first half. Young's fourth three with 53 seconds left in the game put the Jaguars up 82-80.
Wolters responded with three of his game-high 32 points on the next trip down the floor to put the Jacks back on top 83-82, before a pair of Callahan free throws put the Jacks up 85-82 with 12 seconds left.
IUPUI's Sean Espositio drew a foul with six seconds left and made the first foul shot to draw the Jags to within two at 85-83, but missed his second shot. Young got the offensive board, drew a foul and went to the line with four seconds left. He made both of his shots to force overtime.
The game featured 12 ties, but only four lead changes, two of which came in overtime, before a Callahan put-back put the Jacks up for good at 95-93 with 39 seconds left in the game.
NEXT UP FOR THE JACKRABBITS - The Jacks return to action next weekend at The Summit League Championships at the Arena in Sioux Falls as the No. 2 seed to play an as of yet undetermined opponent on Saturday, March 3 at 8:30 p.m.