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Balanced attack leads Jacks to 64-55 win

Courtesy: SDSU Sports Info
Release: 01/17/2014 00:02:49
South Dakota State opened Thursday’s Summit League home opener with an 11-2 run over Western Illinois at Frost Arena, but the Jackrabbits didn’t run away with a win with a 64-55 win over the Fighting Leathernecks, who made the Jacks earn the victory.

“We weren’t very good offensive, particularly in the second half, you have to give them some credit, they played physical,” head coach Scott Nagy said. “When you look at the stats; we outrebounded them, we took care of the ball better, we shot way more free throws than they shot, and when you do those things, you’re probably going to win the basketball game.”

The Jackrabbits (10-8, 2-1 Summit) won the rebounding battle 32-26, committed three fewer turnovers and went 20 for 22 from the free throw line compared to a 12 for 18 night for the Leathernecks from the line.

Western Illinois (7-10, 1-1 Summit) answered the Jacks opening run with a 13-4 run to force the game’s only tie at 15-all with 10 minutes, 49 seconds left in the first half.

SDSU scored the next six points, and took a 34-27 lead into the locker room after a Brayden Carlson to Cody Larson alley-oop dunk off an inbound pass with less than a second to go in the half.

The Jacks shot 44.8 percent in the first half in going 13 for29 from the floor, compared to 35.3 percent in the second half on 6 of 17 shooting, but held the Leathernecks to 34.8 percent shooting in the second half, 8 of 23, after they went 10 for 20 in the opening frame.

The first half momentum carried over to the second half for the Jacks, which started with Chad White’s 200th career 3-pointer, part of a 10-2 run for that gave SDSU its largest lead of the game at 44-29, but Western stayed focused, and started its climb back into the game.

Up 50-40 with 9:10 to play, Western cut the lead to five at 53-48 with 6:33 to play, and again with 4:49 to play, but the Jacks didn’t let them get any closer for the rest of the game.

Jordan Dykstra led the Jacks with an even 20 points, including a perfect 10 for10 mark from the free throw line, which ties an SDSU single-game record for free throw percentage. Carlson added 16 points and Larson 13 points to go with his game-high 11 rebounds, which gives him his fourth double-double of the season.

Garret Covington led all players in the game with 24 points in a losing effort.

The Jackrabbits look to complete the weekend sweep on Saturday, when they take on Omaha inside Frost Arena at 4 p.m.

NOTES: SDSU leads the all-time series with Western Illinois 13-3, with wins in each of the last 10 games ... WIU falls to 0-8 all-time at Frost Arena ... 2,023 fans braved the winter weather outside to watch the game ... SDSU improves to 7-1 this season at home and to 8-1 this season when leading at the half ... Dykstra tied three players in SDSU history with a 100 percent free throw percentage, all of whom finished games 12 for 12; Nate Wolters did it on Jan. 7, 2010 at Kansas City, Garrett Callahan on Feb. 12, 2009 vs. Southern Utah and Jim Suttton on Dec. 8, 1956 vs. St. Thomas ... Dykstra moved from ninth all-time in scoring at SDSU to eighth with 1,432 points, and moved from 10th in career rebounds at SDSU to a tie for eighth with 736, two shy of moving up to seventh all-time ... Dykstra scored at least 20 points in a game for eighth time this season and for the 22nd time in his career ... White’s trio of 3-pointers in the game gives him 201 for his career, making him the fourth player in SDSU history to record 200 career 3-pointers, and leaves him two shy of passing Garrett Callahan for third on the all-time list at SDSU ... Larson recorded his fourth double-double of the season and the first by a Jackrabbit since Dykstra went for 16 points and 12 rebounds at Minnesota on Dec. 10, 2013

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