Jackrabbits done dancing
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - South Dakota State got off to a hot start in its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance at the Division I level, but the third seeded Baylor Bears dashed the Jackrabbits hopes of an upset with a 68-60 win in the second round of the tournament on Thursday at The Pit in Albuquerque, N.M.
"The thing about it is, even though things didn't go well for us and weren't going well for us most of the game, and most of our guys just didn't play at the top of their game, our kids didn't quit. I was really proud of them of that," head coach Scott Nagy said after the game. "But, you know, that's of little consolation when you're talking to kids after a game like that."
The Jackrabbits, who tied a school record with 27 wins this season compared to eight losses, opened the game on an 8-0 run, with a two from Jordan Dykstra and three-pointers from Brayden Carlson and Griffan Callahan.
SDSU pushed that lead to 12 points at 19-7 with 13 minutes and 18 seconds left in the first half on a Nate Wolters layup, but the lead did not last.
Baylor bounced back with a 17-3 run over the next eight minutes that ended with the bears up 26-22 with 5:24 on the first half clock.
The Bears, who improve to 28-7 with the win, pushed the lead to 46-36 early in the second half, but the Jacks did not give up, and made a run to get back into the game.
Three-pointers from Chad White and Dykstra, coupled with a stop a turnover and a Carlson layup, cut the Baylor lead to three at 47-44 with 12:39 left on the clock made it a game again, but Baylor scored the next eight points to push the lead back to 11 8:34 to play.
Down 10 at 64-54 with just under four minutes to play, the Jackrabbits made one last push. Callahan hit a three to cut the lead to seven, and then White made the most of a Baylor turnover with a three to cut the lead to four points, at 64-60 with 1:13 to play in the game.
The Jacks got a stop on the other end, but a Carlson three to cut the lead to one with 27 seconds left missed its mark and fell into the hands of the Bears, which forced the Jacks to foul.
Baylor went 4-for-4 from the line down the stretch to secure the win, and advance to play No. 11 seed Colorado, who upset No. 5 seed UNLV, on Saturday in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
Wolters led the Jackrabbits with 19 points in the loss, adding four rebounds and four assists. White added 15 points, all from long range. Tony Fiegen scored two points, but led the Jacks with five rebounds and with a career-high five assists. Carlson scored nine points and also dished out five assists. Callahan scored seven points before fouling out with 23 seconds left in his final game as a Jackrabbit.
Pierre Jackson led four Bears in double figures with 18 points. Brady Heslip added 17, Anthony Jones 11 and Quincy Miller 10 points in the win. Perry Jones III scored just two points, but grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, as Baylor win the battle of the boards 35-23, including a 12-7 edge on the offensive glass.
NOTES: Thursday's game marked the first-ever meeting between SDSU and Baylor ... SDSU falls to 36-24 all-time in NCAA Tournament play, and to 0-1 in NCAA Division I Tournament play ... Callahan scored 868 points in his career, including 165 three-pointers, which ranks fifth all-time at SDSU ... his 423 three-point field goal attempts also ranks fifth all-time ... Wolters finishes the season with 1,628 points in his career, good for fourth all-time, and 304 points shy of the SDSU points record of 1,931, set by Mark Tetzlaff from 1981-85 ... Wolters also set the junior scoring record at SDSU with 721 points this season ... Wolters averaged 21.2 points in 2011-12, which makes him the first Jackrabbit to average more than 20 points in a season since Jason Sempsrott averaged 23.9 points per game in 1996-97