Jacks clinch league title at Omaha
OMAHA - Six Jackrabbits scored in double figures, Jordan Dykstra and Nate Wolters both posted double-doubles and Chad White led the offense as South Dakota State locked up at least a share of The Summit League regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the league tournament with a 100-82 win at Omaha on Thursday.
"For us, the goal was to win the conference and be the number one seed, and we've accomplished that," head coach Scott Nagy said. "I think there's a lot of gratification in that because it means over the long haul we were good and not just three days in March."
The Jackrabbits, who end the regular season with a 22-9 overall record and a 13-3 mark in The Summit League, never trailed in the game after opening on a 7-0 run and pushing the lead to 51-31 at halftime.
"We got off to a great start; we did what we wanted to. We wanted to go inside early and get Tony (Fiegen) going and get Jordan going and certainly Nate, but I don't worry too much about him, I know he's going to get going," Nagy said. "I though the guy that obviously played huge for us was Chad. He kept everybody loose, when they made some runs he hit threes, but he's the one that just played like I know he's capable of playing, and I hope he continues to do that."
White led the Jackrabbits with 23 points, including a career-high six 3-pointers in the win in seven attempts from deep. He also tied a career-high with nine rebounds, and added an assist, a steal and a block to fill out the stat sheet.
The Jacks largest lead of the game came with 13 minutes, 21 seconds left in the game at 71-44, but didn't put the Mavericks (11-19, 6-9) away for good, as they used a late 14-0 run to cut a 23 point SDSU lead to just nine points at 84-75 with 3:42 remaining in the game.
SDSU broke the run on a Brayden Carlson layup, part of a 6-0 spurt that pushed the lead back to 15 points and sealed the win for the Jackrabbits.
In addition to White, the Jacks got 18 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists from Nate Wolters, 14 points each from Dykstra and Tony Fiegen, with Fiegen adding eight rebounds and Dykstra a career-high 17 rebounds. Carlson finished with 13 points, six boards and four assists, while Marcus Heemstra rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points off the bench.
The Jacks won the rebounding battle 50-24 and shot 57.8 percent for the game overall, 37-of-64, and 9-20 from 3-point range, 45 percent. Omaha shot 43.8 percent overall, 32-of-73, and 34.8 percent from long range, 8-fo-23.
The Jackrabbits get more than a week off before returning to action on Saturday, March 9 at The Summit League Championships, when they take on IUPUI in the quarterfinals from the Sioux Falls Arena at 6 p.m.
NOTES: South Dakota State leads the all-time series with Omaha 48-31 ... the 79th meeting marked the first-ever game played in Ralston Arena, where the teams played in front of an announced crowd of 2,256 fans ... SDSU wins at least a share of the regular season conference title for the first time since 2001-02, when they won the North Central Conference title, one of 20 NCC Championships for SDSU ... first regular season conference title SDSU scored at least 50 points in a half for the sixth time this season, including in the first half of both games against Omaha (56 points in the first half of the first meeting on Dec. 1) ... SDSU scored at least 100 points for the first time since Feb. 5, 2011, when they scored 102 vs. Centenary ... SDSU improves to 89-5 all-time when scoring at least 100 points ... six Jackrabbits scored in double figures in the same game for the first time since Dec. 10, 2011, against North Dakota at Frost Arena ... SDSU grabbed at least 50 rebounds as a team for the first time since they finished with 51 vs. Mayville State on Dec. 8, 2010 ... Wolters scored in double figures for the 68th consecutive game and for the 111th time in his career ... Wolters posted his fifth double-double of the season, the 10th of his career and the sixth with points and assists ... White scored in double figures for the 20th time this season and for the 47th time in his career ... White also surpassed the 20-point mark for the second time this season and for the fifth time in his career ... Dykstra recorded his team-high ninth double-double of the season with 14 points and a career-high 17 rebounds, beating his previous career-high of 15, set against IUPUI on Feb. 14