GAMES NOTES: The South Dakota State Jackrabbits will play their first conference game of the season on Saturday when they host the Nebraska Omaha Mavericks at Frost Arena.
The Mavericks took a 95-51 beating in their conference opener against North Dakota State on Thursday. The loss drops Nebraska Omaha to just 2-6 overall this season with the two wins coming against Northern Illinois (77-64) and Chicago State (68-66). This is the second of five straight road games for the Mavericks who continue on to play Wisconsin next.
The early season has been much more favorable to South Dakota State which is 5-2 overall and riding a four-game win streak after a 71-70 victory over North Dakota on Wednesday. South Dakota State went 15-3 in league play last season. A big test awaits the Jackrabbits next as they take on No. 21 Minnesota on the road.
In the all-time series South Dakota State owns a 46-31 advantage, although the Jackrabbits have lost the last three meetings.
Offensive success eluded Nebraska Omaha, as did defensive resistance, in the Mavericks' loss to North Dakota State. The team shot just 39.6 percent in the game while allowing North Dakota State to hit on 58.1 percent of its shots from the field. The Mavericks were also on the short end in rebounds (39-19) and scoring from 3-point range (45-12). Justin Simmons scored 14 points and was the only player in double figures.
It really hasn't been the Mavericks' offensive efforts that have doomed them. They score a respectable 67.5 points per game and shoot 44.7 percent from the floor. However, on the other end the Mavericks have been very weak, surrendering 82.0 points per game, while teams shoot 47.1 percent. Nebraska Omaha also gets outrebounded by nearly 10 boards per game. Justin Simmons (12.4 ppg) is the top scoring option on a team that doesn't have a litany of scorers. John Karhoff (10.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg) and Alex Phillips (10.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg) have the ability to score in double figures but, Karhoff has not rebounded nearly well enough for a starting forward.
With Chad White's 3-pointer with two seconds on the clock, South Dakota State escaped with a thrilling victory over North Dakota. The game featured six ties and 13 lead changes. South Dakota state shot just 38.5 percent from the field but had a 23-13 edge in points from the free-throw line. Jordan Dykstra and Nate Wolters each turned in fine efforts with 21 points a piece.
As a team South Dakota State is scoring 76.3 points per game and shooting a solid 47.0 percent from the floor this season. The Jackrabbits also rank within the top 100 teams in the country in assists per game (15.1, 63rd). That type of offensive production has allowed the Jackrabbits to run up a +8.6 scoring margin through the first seven games. It was no surprise to see Wolters put up big scoring numbers against North Dakota. The senior guard (21.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 6.3 apg) has been phenomenal this season contributing in just about every facet. Dykstra (12.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg) is a solid second option to Wolters and is the team's leader on the glass. Brayden Carlson (8.4 ppg) and Tony Fiegen (8.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg) are also reliable contributors.
There isn't much reason to believe that Nebraska Omaha will be able to pull off the upset in this game. South Dakota State has too much firepower, led by Wolters.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Dakota State 81, Nebraska Omaha 63
12/01 10:38:08 ET
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