SDSU men move to semifinals of Summit tourneySIOUX FALLS — Prior to its tournament debut Saturday, SDSU figured it might see a curveball from IUPUI.
By: By MARCUS TRAXLER, The Daily Republic
SIOUX FALLS — Prior to its tournament debut Saturday, SDSU figured it might see a curveball from IUPUI.
Like any good team, South Dakota State made the adjustment.
The Jackrabbits pulled away from IUPUI in the final 10 minutes of the game, on the way to a 66-49 win in the quarterfinals of the Summit League men’s tournament in Sioux Falls.
IUPUI, known usually for its run-and-gun style, slowed the pace and tried to make SDSU play in the half court. And for most of the game, the strategy was successful. The tournament’s No. 8 seed was within four points with 12 minutes remaining but the Jackrabbits — and their 6,500-plus supporters, clad in yellow and blue — scored 26 of the final 40 points on the night.
After being mostly even in the first half, the Jackrabbits powered ahead in the first half with a 15-0 run. The Jaguars, however, made their baskets count in the first half and were able to hang within four points at halftime, 31-27.
“We talked about the possibility that they would completely change the way they played,” SDSU coach Scott Nagy said. “Our kids were frustrated and we wanted to go.”
IUPUI head coach Todd Howard said the change in pace was necessitated by the first two meetings between the Jacks and Jags, in which SDSU won both by an average of 26 points.
“Honestly, it’s something that when you’re in the situation we’ve been in, you’ve looked at every batting order under the sun,” Howard said.
SDSU’s senior leadership proved to be well worth it for the Jackrabbits. Nate Wolters, who opened the game without a basket for nearly 10 minutes, finished the game with a flourish and 20 points. Senior forward Tony Fiegen and junior Jordan Dykstra played well inside the paint. Each had 15 points for the Jackrabbits and SDSU finished the game with a 30 to 12 advantage in the points in the paint category.
The tide appeared to turn in the second half when IUPUI junior big man Mitchell Patton picked up his fourth foul with 13:42 remaining in the game, with the Jaguars down only five points. SDSU went on a 13-4 run following Patton’s exit from the game, watching the lead swell to 14 in just over five minutes of game time. Patton scored 16 points prior to his fourth foul and scored only one point thereafter.
SDSU plays No. 5 Fort Wayne at 6 p.m., Monday at Sioux Falls Arena in the semifinals.