Seniors go out with a 75-61 win over the Coyotes
All five Jackrabbit starters scored in double figures and Jordan Dykstra tallied his Summit League-leading eighth double-double, as South Dakota State sent its four seniors out in style with a 75-61 win over South Dakota on Saturday.
“Regardless of who we’re playing, senior night is a hard night because you obviously want the kids to win and have a good experience, but there’s still a basketball game to play and there’s a lot of emotion, so we worked hard to keep them focused on the task at hand and we’ll deal with senior night when the game is over, and I thought our kids did a good job with that,” head coach Scott Nagy said after the game and the senior night festivities.
The Jackrabbits end the regular season with an 18-11 overall record and a 10-4 mark in Summit League play, which makes them the No. 3 seed at next week’s Summit League Championships, where they play No. 6 seed Western Illinois on Sunday at 8:30 p.m.
The Coyotes fall to 12-17 overall and to 6-8 in league play, giving them the No. 5 seed in the league tournament, where they play No. 4 seed Denver on Sunday at 6 p.m.
The Coyotes won the tip, and after a defensive stop, the Jackrabbits got a 3-pointer from on its first possession, part of an 8-1 run to start the game.
The visitors snapped the streak to cut the lead to five, but the Jacks responded and never led by fewer than six points the rest of the contest.
Up by as many as 16 in the first half, the Jacks took a 37-24 lead into the locker room after holding South Dakota to 27 percent shooting in the first half, 7 of 26.
The Jacks opened the second half on a 13-3 run to push the lead to 50-27 with 13 minutes, 34 seconds left in the game, and led by as many as 26 with under nine minutes left to play.
Dykstra led the Jackrabbits with 19 points and added 10 rebounds to complete the double-double. Brayden Carlson finished with 15 points, Jake Bittle 13, Cody Larson 12 and Chad White 10 points in the win.
Brandon Bos led all players with 21 points off the bench, with Tyler Flack scoring 16 in the loss.
Saturday’s game marked the final home game for Jackrabbit seniors Carlson, Dykstra, White and Marcus Heemstra, who posted a 48-9 record at Frost Arena over the last four years, along with numerous other accomplishments.
“When you look at the impact those four guys had on me, on the SDSU community, the Brookings community, the state of South Dakota; academically, how strong all four of them are, the two Academic All-Americans, the philanthropy, the work they did in Haiti,” Nagy said of the seniors. “The impact that those guys had is absolutely incredible.”
NOTES: South Dakota State leads the all-time series with South Dakota 119-89-1 ... the teams played in front of a season-high 5,509 fans at Frost Arena ... SDSU improves to 13-1 this season when leading at the half, to 18-3 when out-rebounding its opponent and to 14-1 when holding its opponent to fewer than 70 points ... five Jackrabbits scored in double figures for the third time this season, all wins (vs. Southwest Minnesota State, 11/18/13 and vs. Belmont, 12/14/13) ... SDSU grabbed at least 40 rebounds as a team for the eighth time this season and finished plus 10 on the glass for the 11th time this season and for the eighth time out of the last nine games ... Dykstra’s eighth double-double of the season gives him 19 in his career ... Dykstra moved from fifth to fourth on the all-time rebounding charts at SDSU with 817 ... Carlson moved from 34th to 31st all-time at SDSU in points scored with 1,093 in his career and needs six more points to move to 28th all-time