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Photo by: South Dakota State University

Jacks and Bison battle for a chance to dance

Courtesy: SDSU Sports Info
Release: 03/12/2013 13:22:23

SIOUX FALLS - A 72-56 win over Fort Wayne on Monday propelled top-seeded South Dakota State to The Summit League Championship finals on Tuesday, where the Jackrabbits face No. 3 seed North Dakota State, which advanced to the finals with a 55-43 win over No. 2 seed Western Illinois.

The Jacks and Bison split the regular season series, with the Bison coming away with a 65-62 win in Fargo, N.D., on Dec. 29, and the Jacks winning 69-53 on Jan. 26 at Frost Arena.

Both the Jacks and Bison enter the game looking to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in school history. SDSU won the league tournament title in 2012, while NDSU looks to advance to the dance for the first time since 2009, when the Bison advance in their first year of tournament eligibility.

THE LAST TIME OUT; March 11, vs. Fort Wayne: SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - South Dakota State trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half of Sunday's Summit League Semifinals, but the top-seeded Jackrabbits used a 9-0 run to get back in the game and a 22-3 run to secure the 72-56 win over No. 5 seed Fort Wayne and advance to Tuesday's league finals.

South Dakota State improves to 24-9 with the win, while Fort Wayne's season comes to an end with a 16-17 record.

The Mastodons came out hot, converting on four of their first five possessions to open the game on a 10-0 run just over three minutes into the game.

A Chad White jumper would end the run, but IPFW came right back and pushed the lead to 12 points at 23-11 with just over 11 minutes left in the first half.

The Jacks responded to the Mastodon's largest lead of the game with a 9-0 run that cut the IPFW lead to 25-23 with 4:20 on the first half clock.

SDSU would come back to take a short-lived 32-31 lead with 1:44 before half, but went into the locker room down two at 34-32 after Frank Gaines hit a triple with under a minute to go in the opening stanza.

After a couple of ties and a couple of lead changes to start the second half, Nate Wolters broke a 45-all at the free throw line, which marked the start of a 22-3 SDSU run that ended with an insurmountable 67-48 Jackrabbit lead with 6:27 left in the game.

Wolters led a trio of Jackrabbits in double figures with 18 points, and tied a career-high with 12 assists. Chad White added 17 points in going 6-for-7 from the field, 4-for-5 from 3-point range. Tony Fiegen finished with 16 points, while Jordan Dykstra added nine points to go along with his game-high nine rebounds.

Gaines led all players in the game with 25 points. No other Mastodon player scored in double figures.

TRACKING THE JACKRABBITS

RABBITS ON THE RADIO - Originated from the AM 570 WNAX studios in Yankton, S.D., every SDSU men's basketball games can be heard live on a total of five stations throughout South Dakota on the Jackrabbit Sports Network.

- 570 AM - WNAX - Yankton          
- 910 AM - KJJQ "The Ranch" - Brookings
- 1060 AM - KGFX - Pierre 
- 1480 AM KSDR - Watertown
- 1490 AM - KORN - Mitchell

Pierre, S.D., native, and 2012 South Dakota Sportscaster of the Year, Tyler Merriam returns for his second season as the voice of Jackrabbit men's basketball. He also serves as the voice of Jackrabbit football.

THE JACKRABBIT INSIDER ON FOX - Fans of South Dakota State Athletics can get a weekly behind-the-scenes look at all 21 Jackrabbit varsity sports teams by tuning into "The Jackrabbit Insider."

Hosted by Tyler Merriam, the show airs on Sundays on KTTW FOX 17 at 10:30 p.m., and can also be seen on Fox Sports North at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays.

NOTEWORTHY

WOLTERS ON MULTIPLE AWARDS WATCH LISTS - The only player in Division I men's basketball to average at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists per game in 2011-12 put senior Nate Wolters on the national map, which led him earning a place on multiple award watch lists.

- Named on the Wooden Midseason Top-25 - WoodenAward.com
- Lute Olson preseason All-America selection - LuteOlsonAward.com
- Bob Cousy Award Final 12 Candidate - HoopHall.com

- Lou Henson Award Finalist - LouHensonAward.com
- Naismith Men's Player of the Year Candidate - NaismithAwards.com

ELITE COMPANY - Nate Wolters enters The Summit League Championship finals on pace to become the first player since the NCAA began keeping assists as an official statistic in 1983-84 to average 20 points, five assists and five rebounds in two separate seasons. He averaged 21.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game last year to become the fifth to achieve a 20-5-5 season. His 2012-13 pace could allow him to reach an elite group with a 20-points, six-assist and five rebound average, a feat he missed by just one assist in 2011-12 and one only two other players in NCAA history achieved.

- Nate Wolters (South Dakota State), 2012-13 - 21.2 ppg, 5.8 apg, 5.6 rpg
- Nate Wolters (South Dakota State), 2011-12 - 22.5 ppg, 5.9 apg, 5.1 rpg
- Norris Cole (Cleveland State), 2010-11 -  21.7 ppg, 5.3, apg, 5.8 rpg
- Evan Turner (Ohio State), 2009-10 -  20.4 ppg, 6.0 apg, 9.2 rpg
- Ricky Minard (Morehead State), 2003-04 -  21.8 ppg, 5.1 apg, 7.3 rpg
- Speedy Claxton (Hofstra), 1999-2000 -  22.8 ppg, 6.0 apg, 5.4 rpg

Wolters also enters the tournament finals nine rebounds shy of joining an exclusive group of NCAA Division I players to reach career totals of 2,000 points, 600 rebounds and 600 assists. Maryland's Greivis Vasquez achieved the rare trifecta first and Ohio's D.J. Cooper became the second to reach the milestone in the Bobcats win over Buffalo on March 5. Along with Vasques and Cooper, only two other players amassed 2,000 points, 600 rebounds and 500 assists in a career: Duke's Danny Ferry and Penn State's Talor Battle. Wolters scored more career points than any member of that elite group.

NCAA players to amass 2,000 points, 600 rebounds and 500 assists in a career (through March 11)

- Greivis Vasquez (Maryland), 2006-10 - 2,171 pts. 647 reb. 772 ast
- Danny Ferry (Duke), 1985-89 - 2,155 pts. 1,003 reb. 506 ast.
- Talor Battle (Penn State), 2007-11 - 2,213 pts. 625 reb. 517 ast.

- D.J. Cooper (Ohio) - 2,035 pts. 615 reb. 914 ast.
*Nate Wolters (South Dakota State) - 2,326 pts. 591 reb. 657 ast.

WOLTERS NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK/MONTH YEAR -The Summit League named Nate Wolters its Player of the Week a league-record seven times during the 2012-13 season, giving him 15 weekly honors for his career, which ties the all-time league mark. He also earned the league's male athlete of the month twice, along with the pre and postseason player of the year honors.

PERFECT AT HOME - The Jackrabbits entered the season with 17 straight home wins, and then capped their second perfect home season at 13-0 with a 64-55 win over Western Illinois on Feb. 16, giving SDSU a school and Summit League record 30 consecutive home wins, the longest streak in all of Division I basketball. 

JACKS DOUBLE UP - After posting a single double-double in each of his first two seasons, Jordan Dykstra posted double-doubles in a team-high nine games this season, including four of the last seven games.

Nate Wolters posted five double-doubles in his first three seasons and six more so far this season. Four of Wolters double-doubles came with points and assists, and two of them from points and rebounds.

Both Dykstra and Wolters recorded double-doubles at CSU Bakersfield and at Omaha, while Dykstra and Tony Fiegen both posted double-doubles in the double-overtime win at Montana. Fiegen added his second double-double of the season in the Jacks 66-49 quarterfinal win over IUPUI on Saturday.

A FIRST FOR THE JACKRABBITS - South Dakota State's victory at previously unbeaten and No. 16 ranked New Mexico on Dec. 22, marked SDSU's first victory over a ranked opponent at the Division I level and gave The Summit League its only win over a ranked team this season. The Jackrabbits lost their first seven games against ranked opponents in Division I.

ON THE RECORD

WOLTERS SETS SCORING RECORDS - Nate Wolters became the 42nd member of the SDSU 1,000-Point Club in a win over Sam Houston State on Nov. 22, 2011, and then set the school record for points in a career on Jan. 5 at South Dakota, when he broke Mark Tetzlaff's 28 year-old record in the DakotaDome.

Wolters also set the SDSU single game scoring record with a 53-point outburst at Fort Wayne on Feb. 7, when he eclipsed set the SDSU single-game record with nine 3-pointers. In addition to those marks, the 53-point performance marks the third-highest in Summit League history, trailing only North Dakota State's Ben Woodside (60 vs. Stephen F. Austin, Dec. 12, 2008) and UMKC's Michael Watson (54 vs. Oral Roberts, Feb. 22, 2003), but does represent the highest single-game total in league history in a regulation game, and represents the highest single-game total in NCAA Division I this season.

WOLTERS JOINS 2,000-POINT CLUB - Wolters scored 1,628 points in his first three years as a Jackrabbit, including the SDSU sophomore record with 604 points and the junior record with 721 points. He entered his senior season 372 points shy of becoming the first member of the SDSU 2,000-Point Club, which he accomplished with a 22-point game in a win at Western Illinois on Jan. 17. 

WOLTERS SETS FREE THROWS RECORD - Adding to his legacy, Wolters tied the SDSU career free throws made record of 532 at Kansas City on Jan. 3, and then broke the record with his first make at South Dakota on Jan. 5. He enters The Summit League Championship finals with an SDSU record 635 in his career.

MORE THAN JUST A SCORER - In addition to his scoring prowess, Wolters set the SDSU career assists record on Feb. 9, at Oakland, when dished out his 606th career assist, topping the old mark of 605, set by Brian Norberg from 1995-99. Wolters enters The Summit League Championship finals with 657 dimes in his career. He also ranks tied for fourth all-time at SDSU with 187 steals.

DYKSTRA HITS 1,OOO-POINT MILESTONE - Junior Jordan Dykstra became the 43rd member of the SDSU 1,000-Point Club in the Jacks win over South Dakota on Jan. 31, and immediately started to climb the scoring charts. He enters The Summit League Championship semifinals ranked 24th all-time at SDSU with 1,119 points.

JACKS SET FREE THROWS RECORD - The Jackrabbits combined to go a perfect 17-for-17 from the free throw line at Oakland, for a perfect 100 percent free throw percentage. That ties a perfect 14-for-14 night vs. IPFW on Jan. 5, 2008 and a 13-for-13 night against IUPUI on Feb. 7, 2008, both at Frost Arena.

GOOD FOR THREE! - Two of the top-10 three-point shooters in SDSU history, based on 3-point field goal percentage, currently play for the Jackrabbits. Jordan Dykstra leads the way with .467 percent, while Chad White ranks second with a .446 mark from deep.

SUMMIT LEAGUE FINALS OPPONENT

NORTH DAKOTA STATE BISON (24-8, 12-4 Summit) - The No. 3 seed Bison advanced to the tournament finals with a 69-58 win over No. 6 seed Kansas City on Sunday and a 55-43 win over No. 2 seed Western Illinois on Monday.

THE SERIES vs. NORTH DAKOTA STATE - The league championship final marks the 207th overall meeting in the series and the fifth meeting in the postseason. NDSU leads the all-time series 109-97, while the teams share a 2-2 mark in postseason play. 

The Jackrabbits and Bison split the regular season series this year for the first time since the 2005-06 season.

The Jacks and Bison last played for a conference championship on Feb. 23, 1980, when SDSU came away with the North Central Conference Tournament title with a 79-75 win in Brookings.

South Dakota State vs. North Dakota State in the Postseason

Feb. 23, 1980 North Central Conference Tournament; Brookings, S.D. - W,  79-75
Feb. 23, 1982 North Central Conference Tournament; Fargo, N.D. - L, 74-75
March 5, 1993 North Central Conference Tournament; Sioux Falls, S.D. - L, 64-68
March 9, 1996 North Central Regional; Hays, Kan. - W, 94-88

THE BISON THE LAST TIME OUT; March 11, vs. Western Illinois: North Dakota State returns to the championship game of The Summit League Tournament for the first time since winning the title in 2009 after defeating Western Illinois 55-43 in the semifinals Monday night.

NDSU, which lost to WIU twice during the regular season, led 24-20 at the half and opened a 37-28 lead on a layup by Kory Brown with 11:38 to play.

Western Illinois cut it to 37-34 on a jumper by Adam Link before TrayVonn Wright buried back-to-back three pointers to put the Bison back in charge.

Wright led the Bison with 19 points, hitting 5-of-8 three-point shots, and also had seven rebounds. Taylor Braun added 14 points and seven boards.

Link led Western Illinois with 12 points, the only WIU player to score in double figures.  The Leathernecks lost all-league guard Ceola Clark III to an injury with 9:20 to play and were already playing without all-league post player Terell Parks, sidelined with an injury.

NDSU outshot WIU 46.2 percent (18-of-39) to 35.7 percent (15-of-42) and had a 30-21 rebounding advantage.

THE FIRST MEETING; at NDSU: Dec. 29, Fargo, N.D.: Jordan Dykstra got off a long 3-point try as the buzzer sounded, but it missed its mark and gave North Dakota State a 65-62 win over South Dakota State in Summit League men's basketball action in Fargo, N.D.

The teams traded baskets early, but the Bison used a 11-2 run to take its largest lead of the game at 19-6 with 12:10 left in the first half before the Jacks settled in, and used an 11-2 run to cut the lead to  29-27 at the half.

NDSU pushed the lead to as many as seven points in the second half before the Jacks started climbing back into the game, eventually tying the contest at 48-all on Dykstra's first points of the game with 10:02 left on the clock.

The Bison got the lead back at the free throw line, before Nate Wolters gave the Jacks their first lead of the game at 50-49 with 9:11 left in the game.

Three more lead changes and two more ties would follow, with neither team leading by more than four points, which the Jacks did at 56-52 with 4:56 remaining.

NDSU scored the next four points to tie the game, and then scored the final four points to secure the win.

Wolters led all players with 26 points, adding five rebounds and three assists. Tony Fiegen finished with 14 points and Brayden Carlson with 12 points, all in the first half. Dykstra scored all seven of his points in the second half. 

Marshall Bjorklund led three Bison players in double figures with 20 points, Lawrence Alexander added 18 and Taylor Braun 11 points, all in the second half in the win. 

THE SECOND MEETING; vs. NDSU: Jan. 26, Frost Arena: In a tale of two halves, South Dakota State bounced back from a 37-31 halftime deficit to beat North Dakota State 69-53 in front of a sold out crowd of 6,063 at Frost Arena.

Trailing by seven at 40-33 with 18 minutes and 47 seconds left in the game after a Mike Felt 3-pointer, the Jackrabbits rattled off the next 17 points to take a 50-40 lead with 10:54 to play in the game. During that same stretch, the Bison went 0-for-11 from the floor with three turnovers.

Nate Wolters led all players in the game with 26 points, adding a game-high seven rebounds and game-high four assists. Tony Fiegen and Jordan Dykstra both finished with 14 points, with Fiegen tying for game-high honors with seven rebounds. Dykstra finished with six rebounds.

TrayVonn Wright led a pair of Bison players in double figures with 16 points. Mike Felt added 12 points, nine of which came in the first half.

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