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Photo by: South Dakota State University

Frost at 40: 2002 Wells Fargo Finals

Courtesy: SDSU Sports Info
Release: 09/03/2012 13:41:20

Editor's Note: Throughout the 2012-13 athletics season, Jackrabbit Athletics will spotlight 40 of the top moments in the 40-year history of Frost Arena. This week's segment focuses on the 2002 Wells Fargo Finals.

The South Dakota State University men's basketball team attempted to pull off a North Central Conference double as it squared off against the University of North Dakota in the championship game of the Wells Fargo Finals on March 2, 2002, at Frost Arena.

Having earned home-court advantage on the strength of a 15-3 record in league play, the Jackrabbits moved into the championship with a 91-77 victory over St. Cloud State (Minn.) the previous night. UND, meanwhile, knocked off Nebraska-Omaha in semifinal action.

UND, which defeated SDSU 96-78 in Grand Forks a week earlier, led for most of the first half. A 10-0 run that began on a Robert Lolar three-pointer and included a pair of baskets by NBA prospect Jerome Beasley put UND in front 37-28 with 7 minutes and 38 seconds to play in the first half.

UND eventually built the lead to 12 points, 48-36, before the Jackrabbits ended the opening half with a 12-4 run to pull to within 52-48 at intermission.

The Jackrabbits regained the lead at 56-54 on an Andy Moeller layup in the opening minutes of the second half, only to see UND regain a seven-point lead, 66-59, on a three-pointer by Jade Jahner with 12:55 to play.

SDSU knotted the fast-paced game at 73-all on a dunk by Andy Cone with 8:13 to play and took the lead for good at 80-78 on a three-pointer by Moeller 80 seconds later.

The backcourt tandem of Moeller and Austin Hansen accounted for the last 12 Jackrabbit points. Hansen, the tournament MVP, scored a basket and made all six of his free throw attempts in the final three minutes en route to 29 points. Moeller added a basket and pair of free throws down the stretch as he finished with 27 points in SDSU's 100-92 victory.

Chris Stoebner scored 12 points off the bench and freshman Matt Jones posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds to round out the Jackrabbits' double-digit scorers. The Jackrabbits shot 54.8 percent from the field for the game, 34-of-62, and made 15-of-16 free throw attempts in the second half.

Beasley paced UND with a game-high 36 points and 10 rebounds. Lolar scored 17, with Mario Porter adding 12 for UND.

SDSU would go on to host the NCAA Division II North Central Regional the following week, falling 87-86 to Metropolitan State (Colo.) in the closing seconds.


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