Defense dominates in win at Omaha
OMAHA, Neb. – Jake Bittle and Cody Larson both scored 16 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, as South Dakota State out-rebounded Omaha 50-29 on Thursday in a 77-60 win, in front of 1,376 fans at Ralston Arena.
Both teams finish the game with the same 15-10 overall record, with the Jackrabbits fifth straight win giving them a 7-3 mark in The Summit League, and the Mavericks falling to 4-5 in league play.
“We continued tonight which we’ve been doing lately, which is rebound the basketball very well. Our defense last weekend was good, it was good tonight, and we’ve kind of taken the focus off of our offense. We’re still scoring as many points, but our focus is so much better,” head coach Scott Nagy said. “Our players are starting to see how that’s affecting scorers on the defensive end, in the rebounding and in the physical parts of the game, and that’s what’s most important.”
In addition to the total rebound advantage, the Jackrabbits won the battle on the offensive glass 17-7, resulting in a 21-6 margin in second chance points. SDSU also finished with 48 points in the paint, compared to 16 from Omaha, and finished with a 17-6 advantage in bench points, all from Zach Horstman, who tied a season-high with nine points, and Marcus Heemstra and his eight points.
Horstman also grabbed a career-high nine rebounds and played a career-high in minutes for a second straight game, finishing with 26.
Brayden Carlson led all players in the game with 17 points and with four assists, with Larson and Bittle right behind at 16 points. Bittle’s career-high 10 rebounds also gives him his first-career double-double, while Larson’s 16 and 10 gives him his fifth double-double.
The Jackrabbits opened on a 6-0 run, only to see the Mavericks come back to take a 9-8 lead less than four minutes into the game, the first of six quick lead changes before the Jacks went up for good on a Chad White layup with 14 minutes, 41 seconds left in the first half, part of an 8-0 Jackrabbit run.
SDSU led 37-27 at halftime, quickly pushed the lead to 15 points early in the second half, and never led the Mavericks any closer than 13 points for the rest of the game.
Omaha’s Mike Rostampour led a trio of Mavs in double figures with 15 points, with Devi nPatterson adding 13 and CJ Carter 12 points in the loss.
The Jackrabbits shot an even 47 percent from the floor overall, 31 of 66, and finished 4-15 from 3-point range, 26.7 percent. Omaha finished 19 of 60 from the floor overall, 31.7 percent, and 5 for 22 from long range, 22.7 percent.
The Jackrabbits go for a season-best sixth win in a row on Saturday at Western Illinois (9-15, 3-6 Summit), who fell to North Dakota State (19-6, 8-2 Summit) on Thursday in Macomb, Ill, by a score of 56-52. The Jacks and Fighting Leathernecks tip at 7 p.m.
NOTES: SDSU leads the all-time series 49-32, with a 3-1 edge in the Division I era … the Jackrabbits and Mavericks played in front of a crowd of 1,376 fans at Ralston Arena … the Jacks fifth straight win ties a season-high for wins in a row … SDSU improved to 11-1 this season when leading at the half, 15-3 when winning the rebounding battle and to 11-1 when holding an opponent to fewer than 69 points in a game … the Jacks finished a game with at least 50 rebounds for the first time since Feb. 28, 2013, when they grabbed 50 against the Mavericks in the same building … two Jackrabbits posted double-doubles in the same game for the second time this season, the first being Larson ( 24 points, 10 rebounds) and Jordan Dykstra (14 points, 11 rebounds) vs. Howard on Nov. 25, 2013 … Bittle’s career-high 10 rebounds tops his previous high of seven, set last week vs. IUPUI … Horstman’s career-high nine rebounds tops his previous high of six, set vs. IPFW on Dec. 28, 2011, and his career-high 26 minutes tops his previous high of 21, set last week vs. IUPUI … Carlson’s 17 points gives him 1,041 for his career, and moves him from 39th on the all-time list at SDSU to 37th, three points shy of passing Pete Leiferman (1,043 points from 1989-93) for 36th all-time ... Carlson's lone 3-pointer in the game also gives him 151 for his career, good for a tie for 10th all-time at SDSU