Top seed Oakland ends Jackrabbit run
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - South Dakota State's run in The Summit League Championships came to an abrupt end on Monday with a 110-90 loss to top-seed Oakland in the semifinals in front of 5,676 mostly Jackrabbit fans at the Sioux Falls Arena.
The loss ends the Jackrabbits season with a 19-11 record, the team's first winning season since making the transition to Division I following the 2003-04 season. Oakland improves to 24-9 and advances to play either Oral Roberts or IUPUI on Tuesday for the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Nate Wolters led the Jackrabbits with 23 points and seven assists, Chad White scored 21 points off the bench and Jordan Dykstra added 19 points and seven rebounds in a reserve role to help the SDSU bench outscore the Oakland bench 44-20. Clint Sargent added 13 points in his final game as a Jackrabbit to round out the Jacks double figure scorers.
All five Golden Grizzlies starters finished in double figures, led by Drew Valentine and his game-high 24 points. He also finished with a game-high 11 rebounds to complete the game's only double-double. Reggie Hamilton battled through some early foul trouble to score 20 points and dish out a game-high eight assists. Keith Benson added 18 points and eight rebounds, Travis Bader scored 16 points, including a 4-of-7 effort from three-point range, while Will Hudson scored 12 points.
The defending regular and tournament champion Golden Grizzlies never went on any big runs in the win, but scored in bunches early to take their first double-digit lead at 20-9 with 15:05 left to play in the first half.
The Jacks would cut the lead to nine on three occasions in the first half, but would see Oakland lead by as many as 20 points before taking a 59-43 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The lead would grow as large as 23 points in the second half and the Jacks could get no closer than 15 the rest of the way.
NOTES: Oakland improves to 9-1 all-time against SDSU, including two wins in The Summit League Championships Semifinals (2009, 2011) ... SDSU's 19-11 record marks a Division I best and gives the Jackrabbits their first winning season since finishing 27-7 in 2003-04, the final year in Division II ... Clint Sargent finishes his career at SDSU with 1,505 points, fifth all-time and the most by any player who scored all of his points at the DI level ... Sargent also finishes his career with 252 career three-pointers in 659 attempts, both SDSU records ... Sargent made 83 three-point field goals this season, good for second all-time at SDSU ... Nate Wolters finished his sophomore season with an SDSU sophomore record 604 points (19.5 ppg) the seventh most scored by any Jackrabbit in a single season ... Wolters 907 career points leaves him 93 shy of becoming the 42nd member of the SDSU 1,000-Point Club ... As a team, the Jackrabbits went 276-of-672 from three-point range, both SDSU records ... the Jackrabbits scored exactly 1,500 points in 18 conference games, which tops the old SDSU record for points in a conference season of 1,420 in the same number of games (18)