Jacks survive North Dakota, 71-70
For the fourth time this season, a South Dakota State basketball game came down to the final shot, and for the second time this season, that last shot fell in favor of the Jackrabbits, both times off the hands of Chad White.
Trailing 70-68 with 12 seconds left in Wednesday's game with North Dakota, the Jacks took the ball up the floor, where it ended up in White's hands with time ticking down. The junior from Madison took an off balance shot from the left corner and it fell in as the buzzer sounded, sealing the Jacks 20th straight home win.
The last-second win gives SDSU a 5-2 record heading into Saturday's Summit League opener against Omaha, while North Dakota falls to 1-4 on the season.
"I told the players after the game that good seasons are made up of games like that, where things aren't exactly going right for us and you figure out how to win games," head coach Scott Nagy said. "I think even our players would say that it felt a little bit underserved. Defensively we were not good, that's two games in a row now, and we just have a lot of work to do."
The Jackrabbits jumped out to a 10-0 lead, but quickly went cold after a North Dakota time out. UND proceeded to shoot 56 percent in the first half on 14-of-25 shooting, and took a 38-32 lead into the locker room at halftime.
SDSU, on the other hand, shot 33 percent in the first half on 9-of-27 shooting, including a 2-for-9 effort from three-point range.
The game evened out a bit in the second half, which saw six of the eight ties and 13 of the 14 lead changes.
Down by two at 70-68 after a Tony Fiegen layup with 1:01 on the clock, the Jacks got a stop on defense, but turned the ball over with 12 seconds left, which forced them to foul UND, which missed the front end of the 1-and-1. Fiegen grabbed the rebound, and the Jacks went the length of the floor looking for the final shot.
North Dakota defended the final play well, forcing White to take a less than open shot, but he made it, sending the 3,055 Frost Arena faithful into a frenzy.
White finished with nine points in the win. Both Nate Wolters and Jordan Dykstra finished with 21. Wolters added six assists and five rebounds, while Dykstra finished with a game-high eight rebounds. Fiegen added 14 points despite sitting much of the game in foul trouble.
Josh Schuler led four UND players in double figures with 13 points. Doug Archer added 12, while both Mitch Wilmer and Jamal Webb finished with 11 points.
The Jacks look to make it 21 games in a row at home on Saturday in their Summit League opener against Omaha, which snapped the Jacks longest home winning streak at 27 games with a 107-104 overtime win over SDSU on Jan. 10, 2004.
The Jacks and Mavericks tip-off at 6:30 p.m., following the SDSU women's game against Middle Tennessee State, which starts at 4 p.m.
NOTES: North Dakota leads the all-time series with SDSU 104-80 ... SDSU holds an 18-6 advantage in the series in the Scott Nagy era ... Wolters' 21 points gives him 1,781 for his career, 35 shy of passing assistant coach Austin Hansen for third all-time at SDSU and 42 shy of passing Lee Colburn for second all-time ... Wolters scored in double figures for the 89th time in his career and for the 46th consecutive game ... Wolters scored at least 20 points in a game for the fifth time in seven games this season and for the 46th time in his career ... Dykstra scored more than 20 points in a game for the first time this season and for the 11th time in his career ... SDSU lost on the last shot of the game at Alabama (11/9) and at Hofstra (11/16), and won on last second shots vs. Marshall (11/17) and now against North Dakota