Strong second half leads Jacks past ‘Dons
Tied at 40 with just over 16 minutes to play in Saturday's 21st Annual Lamb Bonanza, South Dakota State outscored Fort Wayne 43-17 down the stretch to secure an 83-57 win in front of 3,355 fans at Frost Arena.
The Jackrabbits 25th straight win boosts their record 13-6 overall and to 4-2 in The Summit League, while IPFW falls to 8-11 overall and to 1-4 in league play.
"For 25 minutes it was pretty lackluster, there wasn't a lot of the passion we've been looking for, and sometimes I think that because we're playing at home that it's going to happen without us doing what we need to do," head coach Scott Nagy said. "IPFW is tough, they're physical, we didn't really didn't respond to their physicality. We got after the team at halftime, but the first five minutes of the first half wasn't great, but it's clear how our defensive numbers and our offensive numbers work hand-in-hand, and we were good defensively the last 15 minutes and it showed up in our offense."
After shooting 43.8 percent in the first half in going 14-of-32 from the floor, the Jacks shot 72.7 percent in the second half, 16-of-22. Defensively, SDSU allowed the Mastodons to shoot 46.4 percent in the first half, 13-of-28, but held them to just 37.5 percent in the second half, 9-24.
Additionally, the Jacks forced 10 of the Mastodon's 18 turnovers in the second half, which led to 14 of the Jackrabbits total of 23 points off turnovers. IPFW scored 10 points in the game off of 12 SDSU turnovers.
Nate Wolters led all players in the game with 29 points, scoring 16 of them in the second half. Marcus Heemstra tied a career-high with 12 points, eight in the second half, while Chad White scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half.
Frank Gaines led a pair of IPFW players in double figures with 18 points. Joe Reed added 15 points in the loss.
South Dakota State returns to the road next week for a Summit League Tournament Championship rematch with Western Illinois on Thursday at 7 p.m., and then travels to IUPUI on Saturday to face the Jaguars in Indianapolis at 3 p.m. ET.
NOTES: The Jackrabbits sixth straight win over IPFW gives them a 9-8 advantage in the series ... SDSU's 25th consecutive home win ranks as the third longest in NCAA Division I, trailing Syracuse (which hosts Villanova on Saturday) with 33 and Kansas with 30 ... Wolters 29 points boosts his SDSU points record to 1,988, leaving him 12 points shy of 2,000 ... Wolters scored in double figures for the 17th time this season, 98th time in his career and for the 55th straight game ... Wolters scored at least 20 points in a game for the 10th time this season and for the 39th time in his career ... White scored in double figures for the 11th time this season and for the 39th time in his career ... Heemstra tied a career-high of 12 points, set vs. the University of the District of Columbia on Nov. 18, 2012 ... Heemstra scored in double figures for the second time this season and for the second time in his career ...