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Leathernecks host championship rematch

Courtesy: SDSU Sports Info
Release: 01/16/2013 16:28:19

South Dakota State returned home last week for the first time in over a month, and made the most of it by posting Summit League wins over Oakland and Fort Wayne. Now the Jackrabbits turn their attention to Western Illinois, which hosts the Jacks on Thursday at 7 p.m., in a rematch of last season's Summit League Tournament championship game.

The Jackrabbits won that game in overtime by a 52-50 score to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time at the Division I level, and now hope to not only snap the Fighting Leathernecks 11 game winning streak, but to hand them their first league loss of the season.

THE LAST TIME OUT; Jan. 12, vs. Fort Wayne: Tied at 40 with just over 16 minutes to play in Saturday's 21st Annual Lamb Bonanza, South Dakota State outscored Fort Wayne 43-17 down the stretch to secure an 83-57 win in front of 3,355 fans at Frost Arena.

The Jackrabbits 25th straight win boosts their record 13-6 overall and to 4-2 in The Summit League, while IPFW falls to 8-11 overall and to 1-4 in league play.

After shooting 43.8 percent in the first half in going 14-of-32 from the floor, the Jacks shot 72.7 percent in the second half, 16-of-22. Defensively, SDSU allowed the Mastodons to shoot 46.4 percent in the first half, 13-of-28, but held them to just 37.5 percent in the second half, 9-24.

Additionally, the Jacks forced 10 of the Mastodon's 18 turnovers in the second half, which led to 14 of the Jackrabbits total of 23 points off turnovers. IPFW scored 10 points in the game off of 12 SDSU turnovers.

Nate Wolters led all players in the game with 29 points, scoring 16 of them in the second half. Marcus Heemstra tied a career-high with 12 points, eight in the second half, while Chad White scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half.

Frank Gaines led a pair of IPFW players in double figures with 18 points. Joe Reed added 15 points in the loss.

NEXT UP FOR THE JACKRABBITS - SDSU takes on IUPUI on Saturday in Indianapolis, then returns home next week to host North Dakota State on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 2:05 p.m. in a game that can be seen live on Midco Sports Net, and on Fox College Sports.   

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 EXTRA - Subscribers to the Jackrabbit Extra on GoJacks.com watch every SDSU home game and select road games streaming live on the internet. In addition, subscribers can listen to every game, home and on the road, streaming live on the internet. 

To subscribe to the Jackrabbit Extra, log onto GoJacks.com and click on "SIGN UP NOW"

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

DOWN TO THE WIRE - The Jackrabbits lost the season opener at Alabama on a 3-point buzzer beater and lost at Hofstra on Nov. 16 on a 3-pointer with three seconds left.

The Jacks turned the tables on Nov. 17 vs. Marshall, as Chad White hit a 3-pointer with two seconds left to lift SDSU to a win. White did it again on Nov. 28, hitting an off-balance 3-pointer as the horn sounded to give the Jacks a 71-70 win over North Dakota.

The Jacks added a double overtime thriller to the mix on Dec. 15 at Montana, when Tony Fiegen sank two free throws with nine seconds left in the second overtime, the last of 19 lead changes in the 68-67 SDSU win.

So far this season, SDSU played a total of seven games decided by three or fewer points, posting an 3-4 record in those games.

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.
- Candidate for Senior CLASS Award - SeniorClassAward.com

- Named on the Wooden Midseason Top-25 - WoodenAward.com

- Lute Olson preseason All-America selection - LuteOlsonAward.com
- Bob Cousy Award Final 20 Candidate - HoopHall.com

ELITE COMPANY - Wolters finished the 2011-12 campaign averaging 21.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game to join an exclusive group. He became just the fifth player in NCAA history to average 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in a season. Wolters finished just one assist shy of reaching an even more select group with a 20-points, six-assist and five-rebound average, a feat achieved by only two players in NCAA history.

- Nate Wolters (South Dakota State), 2011-12 - 21.2 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

PERFECT AT HOME - The Jackrabbits entered the season with 17 straight home wins, and pushed that total to 25 with the win over Oakland on Thursday. The Jacks home winning streak ranks third in the nation behind Syracuse with 34 and Kansas with 31. 

SDSU won a team-record 27 straight home games from 2002-04, starting with a 98-78 win over Colorado Mines on Nov. 29, 2002, and ending with a 107-104 overtime loss to Omaha on Jan. 10, 2004.    

SEVEN IN DOUBLE FIGURES - All 10 Jackrabbits scored at least one point in the Jacks 96-48 win over UDC, seven of which reached double figures. Taévaunn Prince led the way with 13 points, Jordan Dykstra, Nate Wolters, Zach Horstman, Chad White and Marcus Heemstra all scored 12 and Tony Fiegen 10 points in the win.

DYKSTRA DOUBLES UP - After posting a single double-double in each of his first two seasons, junior Jordan Dykstra posted double-doubles in four games this season, including 16 points and 10 rebounds in the double overtime win at Montana, a 10 point, 10 rebound game in the Jacks upset at New Mexico and a 22 point, 13 rebound game against Oakland.

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 first 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 RECORD - 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 instantly began his climb up the all-time charts at SDSU. He reached the top of the list on Jan. 5 at South Dakota, when he broke Mark Tetzlaff's 28 year-old record in the DakotaDome.

WOLTERS SETS FREE THROWS RECORD - Adding to his legacy, Wolters tied the SDSU career free throws made record 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 week with an SDSU record 554 in his career.

THE COUNTDOWN TO 2,000 CAREER POINTS - 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, and enters Thursday's game just 12 points shy of the mark. 

MORE THAN JUST A SCORER - In addition to his scoring prowess, Wolters ranks sixth in career steals at SDSU with 162, and continues his climb up the all-time assists charts. His 188 assists as a sophomore represents the third best single-season total in SDSU history, and his 202 as a junior marks the second-highest single-season total at SDSU. Adding to that, his 573 career assists ranks second all-time at SDSU, 33 shy of breaking the all-time mark of 605 assists, set by Brian Norberg from 1995-99. 

DYKSTRA CLOSING IN ON 1,OOO-POINT MILESTONE - Junior Jordan Dykstra scored 351 points as a freshman and 362 points as a sophomore, which gave him 713 for his to start the season. His 244 points this season gives him 957 for his career, 43 shy of becoming the 43rd member of the SDSU 1,000-Point Club. 

THIS WEEK'S OPPONENT

WESTERN ILLINOIS FIGHTING LEATHERNECKS (14-3, 6-0 Summit) - The Fighting Leathernecks enter Thursday's game riding an 11 game winning streak, a perfect 8-0 mark at home and a perfect 6-0 record in Summit League play. The winning streak started with a buzzer-beating 73-71 win at South Dakota in their league-opener and includes a 95-48 home win over Greenville College last week and an 89-74 win at Omaha last Saturday.

THE SERIES vs. WESTERN ILLINOIS - The Jackrabbits lead the all-time series 10-3 with wins in each of the last seven meetings, which includes a 52-50 overtime win in the 2012 Summit League Tournament Championship in Sioux Falls, S.D., on March 6, giving SDSU an NCAA Tournament bid.

THE LEATHERNECKS LAST TIME OUT: Jan. 12, at OMAHA - OMAHA, Neb. - The Western Illinois men's basketball team, who owns the program's best start during its NCAA Division I era, picked up its 11th consecutive victory Saturday (Jan. 12) at Omaha, 89-74, marking the most consecutive wins the program has earned in its Division I history.

Terell Parks picked up his sixth double-double of the season with 19 points and 11 rebounds, both game-highs. He also had two blocks.

Three other Leathernecks finished with 10-plus points. Don McAvoy III recorded 15 points, two boards and two blocks, Adam Link tallied 12 points, three boards and two blocks, and Remy Roberts-Burnett finished with 11 points, six rebounds, five assists, and one steal.

The Leathernecks shot 57.4 percent from the field, while the Mavericks connected on 44.4 percent of their shots.   

Similar most of the Leathernecks' games as of late, they found themselves down early. UNO was able to build an early 11-2 lead during the first four minutes of the game. That, however, wouldn't last long as Western would respond with a 9-0 run to ties things up at 11 with just over 11 minutes to play in the half.

The Mavericks would quickly regain their lead, but Western was able to tie things back up at 20, and eventually take its first lead of the game thanks for a McAvoy triple with 2:35 left before halftime. The Leathernecks took a three-point advantage into the half, leading UNO 32-29.

Western came out in the second firing, kicking-off the period on a 15-6 run. The Leathernecks gradually built their lead up to as large as 22 points, and after absorbing a late, strong Omaha run, closed out the Summit League victory. 

THE LAST MEETING vs. WIU: The Summit League Championships (3/6/12) - SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Just hours after the South Dakota State women punched their ticket to the Big Dance, the Jackrabbit men followed suit with a thrilling come-from-behind overtime win over Western Illinois by the score of 52-50.

The Jacks, who trailed by as many as 12 points in the second half, completed the comeback on a pair of Griffan Callahan free throws with 15 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 44. The Fighting Leathernecks got a shot off at the buzzer, but it fell short, and into the hands of Callahan, the Jacks lone senior.

A lead that changed hands 10 times in regulation, changed hands three more times in overtime, before a Callahan three-pointer put the Jacks up for good with 1 minute, 27 seconds remaining.

Neither team scored after that, and Western Illinois' final attempt at a tie missed its mark, sending the Jackrabbits and their fans to the floor to celebrate the team's first-ever NCAA Tournament berth at the Division I level.

The Jackrabbits improve to 27-7 with the win, while Western Illinois' finishes at 18-14.

The Jackrabbits led by as many as three points in the first half, but a 10-for-28 effort from the floor in the half, 35.7 percent, kept them from pulling away.

The Fighting Leathernecks shot 45.8 percent on 11-of-24 shooting, but went 5-for-8 from three-point range, 62.5 percent, which made the difference at halftime, as they went into the locker room with a 28-24 lead.

The second half didn't start much better for the Jacks, as they opened with a 1-for-10 effort from the floor, which opened the door for Western to extend its lead to 12 points at 37-25 with 15:24 left in regulation.

Still trailing by nine points with 7:35 on the clock, the Jacks closed the game on an 11-2 run to tie the game and force overtime, where they eventually prevailed.

Tournament MVP Nate Wolters led the Jackrabbits with 14 points in the win, adding six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Callahan added 10 points and six rebounds, while Chad White finished with nine points, all from long range.

Brayden Carlson led the defense with seven rebounds to go along with his three points and three assists. Jordan Dykstra, who earned all-tournament team honors, finished with six points and six rebounds.

Tommie Tyler led the Leathernecks with a game-high 19 points. Terell Parks scored eight points and finished with a game-high 11 rebounds.

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