Jacks come up short in opener at San Diego
SAN DIEGO – South Dakota State got career-high scoring from Jake Bittle and Marcus Heemstra, but the Jackrabbits came up on the short end of a 74-70 game against San Diego in both teams’ season-opener at the USD Classic.
Bittle finished with 18 points and Heemstra 16, and the Jacks got 12 from Brayden Carlson, but he fouled out with 1 minute, 17 seconds left to play and SDSU leading 70-69, leaving the point guard duties to Bittle and true freshman Anders Broman.
“It was tough not having Brayden after his fifth foul and trying to run the point with Jake, who hasn’t run it in a long time and with Anders who’s not used to running it at the end of the game and that’s probably what cost us,” head coach Scott Nagy said. “I say that, but what really cost us what the first half, we were just not very good in the first half at all, we did in the second half, but we didn’t take care of the ball in the second half.”
With Carlson on the bench in the final minute plus, the Jacks turned the ball over four times and the Toreros scored the final five points, closing the game on an 8-0 run to secure the win.
As for the first half, the host Toreros won the rebounding battle 22-14, including a 5-1 edge on the offensive glass. They also shot 50 percent from the floor, 14-for-28, including a 6-for-11 effort from long range. SDSU shot 42 percent on 11-of-26 shooting and went 3-for-12 from deep, all of which resulted in a 41-34 San Diego lead at the break.
The Jacks stepped up the rebounding in the second half to finish with 36 for the game, just one fewer than USD. SDSU shot 43 percent from the floor in the second half, 13-of-30, and held USD to 44 percent on 12-of-27 shooting, but the Toreros made the shots they needed to make late to secure the win.
SDSU committed 12 of their 16 turnovers in the second half. USD also turned the ball over 12 times in the second half to finish the game with 19.
Along with Bittle, Heemstra and Carlson, the Jacks got 11 points from Cody Larson in his Jackrabbit debut. He also led the Jacks with eight rebounds, with four assists and with three blocks. Broman finished with five points in his collegiate debut, as did Jordan Dykstra, who played just 12 minutes in the game due to foul trouble.
The Jacks look to even their record on Saturday in their final game of the USD Classic against Loyola Marymount at 3:30 p.m. PT, 5:30 p.m. CT.
Notes: Friday’s game marked the first game in the series between San Diego and South Dakota State … the two teams played at the Jenny Craig Pavilion in the campus of the University of San Diego in front of an announced crowd of 2,017 … SDSU falls to 12-7 in season-opening games under Scott Nagy, and to 4-6 in openers in the Division I era … Bittle topped his previous career-high of eight points, which he did twice, he also set career-highs with three 3-pointers, with six rebounds and with 30 minutes played … Heemstra topped his previous career-high of 12 points, which he accomplished twice … Larson, who played one season at Florida in 2011-12, set career-highs in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and minutes played … redshirt freshman Connor Devine also made his collegiate debut in the game, grabbing two rebounds in eight minutes on the floor