GAME NOTES: The South Dakota State Jackrabbits look to clinch the No. 1 seed in the Summit League Tournament as they visit Ralston Arena for a regular-season finale against the Nebraska Omaha Mavericks.
SDSU is currently on a two-game slide after falling to Cal State Bakersfield by one-point in double-overtime and to Murray State by 11 points in the BracketBusters event while on vacation from Summit League play. The back-to- back setbacks dropped the Jackrabbits to a 21-9 overall record, but they are still owners of a conference-leading 12-3 league record.
Omaha began its second season as a Division I program since reclassifying slowly with just five wins in its first 20 games. However, the Mavericks have picked up some momentum down the stretch with six victories over the course of their last eight outings. Omaha took down North Dakota, 83-75, in the BracketBusters event on Saturday to notch its third win in a row. Unlike the visitors, it will have one more regular season game on March 2, when North Dakota State visits Ralston Arena.
The Jackrabbits lead the all-time series 47-31, despite dropping three of the last four games in the series. SDSU coasted to a 78-63 decision on Dec. 1 in the first Division I head to head.
SDSU's Nate Wolters has continued to impress this season. The senior guard was named the Player of the Week on Monday for a league-record seventh time this season after a pair of stellar outings. Wolters finished one assist shy of a triple-double, scoring 32 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and handing out nine assists. While dueling Murry State's star guard Isaiah Canaan, he produced a balanced effort of 18 points with six rebounds, five assists and two steals.
SDSU held a 14-point lead over Murry State in the second half before the Racers charged back by holding the Jackrabbits scoreless for a stretch of nearly six minutes. SDSU was outscored, 16-4, in fast break points and also, 28-16, in the paint. The Jackrabbits, who average 73.4 ppg on 46.1 percent shooting from the floor, were held just over 11 points under their scoring offense average despite going 25-of-52 (48.1 percent) from the field and 9- of-21 (42.9 percent) from beyond the arc.
The Mavericks used a balanced attack to down UND on Saturday. Justin Simmons (16.5 ppg) led the way with 20 points, while John Karhoff chipped in a double- double of 17 points and 10 rebounds. Alex Welhouse and C.J. Carter contributed 13 and 12 points, respectively, as Omaha connected on 44.8 percent of its field-goal tries. The Mavericks also outscored UND, 18-9, at the charity stripe.
The Jackrabbits will have plenty of motivation heading into Ralston Arena with their Summit League Tournament fate hanging in the balance. The Mavericks have shown steady improvement, but they are not going to be able to contain Wolters and the Jackrabbits.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Dakota State 74, Nebraska Omaha 62
02/28 10:34:54 ET
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