ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - South Dakota State earned a No. 14 seed for its first-ever NCAA Tournament at the Division I level, which pits the Jackrabbits against No. 3 seed Baylor in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday at 5:27 MDT, 6:27 CDT, in "The Pit" located in Albuquerque, N.M.
Ranked No. 10 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll on March 12, the Bears earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, and enter the event with the same record as the Jackrabbits at 27-7, after falling to Missouri, 90-75, on Saturday in the Big 12 Championship in Kansas City, Mo.
The Jackrabbits last played on Tuesday, March 6, when they beat Western Illinois in The Summit League Championship finals to earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Jackrabbits punched their ticket to the Big Dance with a thrilling come-from-behind overtime win over Western Illinois by the score of 52-50. The Jacks, who trailed by as many as 12 points in the second half, completed the comeback on a pair of Griffan Callahan free throws with 15 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 44. The Fighting Leathernecks got a shot off at the buzzer, but it fell short, and into the hands of Callahan, the Jacks lone senior.
A lead that changed hands 10 times in regulation, changed hands three more times in overtime, before a Callahan three-pointer put the Jacks up for good with 1 minute, 27 seconds remaining.
Neither team scored after that, and Western Illinois' final attempt at a tie missed its mark, sending the Jackrabbits and their fans to the floor to celebrate the team's first-ever NCAA Tournament berth at the Division I level.
The Jackrabbits led by as many as three points in the first half, but a 10-for-28 effort from the floor in the half, 35.7 percent, kept them from pulling away. The Fighting Leathernecks shot 45.8 percent on 11-of-24 shooting, but went 5-for-8 from three-point range, 62.5 percent, which made the difference at halftime, as they went into the locker room with a 28-24 lead.
The second half didn't start much better for the Jacks, as they opened with a 1-for-10 effort from the floor, which opened the door for Western to extend its lead to 12 points at 37-25 with 15:24 left in regulation.
Still trailing by nine points with 7:35 on the clock, the Jacks closed the game on an 11-2 run to tie the game and force overtime, where they eventually prevailed.
Tournament MVP Nate Wolters led the Jackrabbits with 14 points in the win, adding six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Callahan added 10 points and six rebounds, while Chad White finished with nine points, all from long range.
Brayden Carlson led the defense with seven rebounds to go along with his three points and three assists. Jordan Dykstra, who earned all-tournament team honors, finished with six points and six rebounds.
Click on the link above to download the South Dakota State men's basketball postseason notes/media guide.