South Dakota State (16-10) at North Dakota State (20-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 22, 3 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bison Sports Arena (6,000) -- Fargo, North Dakota. Television: None. Home Record: South Dakota State 9-3, North Dakota State 9-1. Away Record: South Dakota State 7-6, North Dakota State 10-5. Neutral Record: South Dakota State 0-1, North Dakota State 1-0. Conference Record: South Dakota State 8-3, North Dakota State 9-2. Series Record: North Dakota State leads, 110-98.
GAME NOTES: The last time the South Dakota State Jackrabbits lost a game was on Jan. 25 at home against the North Dakota State Bison. The Jackrabbits will look to avenge that loss as the two Summit League teams clash Saturday at Bison Sports Arena.
South Dakota State has won six games in a row since that loss to the Bison in late January, and has rocketed up near the top of the Summit League standings. The Jackrabbits defeated Western Illinois, 62-50, last Saturday. They trail NDSU by a single game for the Summit League lead.
North Dakota State has won four consecutive games, and nine of the team's last 10 altogether. The Bison took down Nebraska Omaha last Saturday, 75-59, to improve to a league-leading 9-2 in the conference.
In the long-running all-time series between the two programs, North Dakota State holds a 110-98 lead over the Jackrabbits. The Bison defeated SDSU, 85-77, in Brookings nearly a month ago to increase the series lead.
Western Illinois jumped ahead of South Dakota State at the end of the first half, 24-23, but the Jackrabbits came storming back in the second half to force a 13-point swing and defeat the Leathernecks by 12 points. Jordan Dykstra tallied a double-double with 20 points and a team-high 13 rebounds in the contest, while Jake Bittle netted 18 points with eight boards. Cody Larson rounded out the double-digit scoring for SDSU with 11 points in 37 minutes of action.
Dykstra tops the Jackrabbits in scoring this season with a 16.4 ppg average on 45.2 percent shooting from the floor. The big man has a team-leading 7.7 rpg mark and 47 assists on the season, which is fourth on the SDSU roster. Brayden Carlson checks in behind Dykstra at 15 ppg, and Larson trails him with 13.4 ppg. Carlson tops the squad with 71 assists on the year.
North Dakota State and Nebraska Omaha battled it out in the first half of last Saturday's game, with the Bison taking a five-point advantage into the intermission. But NDSU exploded in the second half and outscored the Mavericks by 11 points in the period on its way to a 16-point win. Taylor Braun had a monster game for the Bison, netting a game-high 31 points with 15 rebounds and five assists in 34 minutes of action. Lawrence Alexander tallied 11 points, and TrayVonn Wright notched 10 points before fouling out.
Braun, thanks to the 31-point effort, upped his team-leading scoring average to a healthy 18.6 ppg on an even 50 percent shooting from the field. Braun brings in a team-high 5.3 rpg, and caps off his well-rounded style of play with a team-best 99 assists and 44 steals on the year. Marshall Bjorklund checks in behind Braun in the scoring category at 13.5 ppg, and Alexander is third with 11.3 ppg. Wright, who averages 10.8 ppg, leads the team with 46 blocked shots.
This is definitely a matchup with the Summit League's two hottest teams. The homecourt advantage helps North Dakota State tremendously, although the team didn't seem phased earlier this season against SDSU. Both teams are well- rounded, but the Bison have a few more scorers.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Dakota State 81, South Dakota State 72
02/22 10:16:26 ET