FACTS & STATS: Site: Frost Arena (8,500) -- Brookings, South Dakota. Television: Midco Sports Network. Home Record: South Dakota 5-5. SDSU 9-0. Away Record: South Dakota 2-7, SDSU 5-6. Neutral Record: South Dakota 1-1, SDSU 2-0. Conference Record: South Dakota 4-5, SDSU 7-2. Series Record: SDSU leads, 115-92.
GAMES NOTES: An intrastate rivalry will be renewed on Thursday night when the South Dakota Coyotes and the South Dakota State Jackrabbits battle it out in Summit League action at Frost Arena.
The Coyotes have been off since last Thursday when they came up short in a 95-90 decision to Nebraska-Omaha. The loss was the third in the last four games for South Dakota which is just 8-13 this season. In conference play the Coyotes have competed and managed to fight to nearly even at 4-5. Road trips have generally gone the wrong way for the Coyotes who are 2-7 away from home. That's bad news considering they will face North Dakota State and UMKC on the road next.
Meanwhile South Dakota State has just been rolling along. The Jackrabbits have won five straight games to improve their overall record to 16-6, while climbing into a tie with North Dakota State for second place in the Summit League with a mark of 7-2. Playing at Frost Arena has been a huge advantage for the Jackrabbits who have yet to lose in nine tries on their home floor. South Dakota State will remain at home to play UMKC next.
These long-time rivals have only met up three times in the last 20 years. In that time South Dakota has managed to earn a 2-1 lead including a 74-71 victory earlier this season. In the all-time series however South Dakota State has the 115-92 edge.
South Dakota never led and trailed by as many as 15 points in its loss to Nebraska Omaha. The Coyotes shot a solid 46.5 percent from the field and hit 11 3-pointers, but their play on defense left a lot to be desired. The Coyotes allowed the Mavericks to hit 56.3 percent of their field goal attempts including 13-of-26 from 3-point range.
Despite their poor record the Coyotes have actually been the highest scoring team in the conference this season. South Dakota is putting up 73.2 points per game, while ranking fifth in field-goal percentage (.449). However, all that offensive success has been neutralized by poor defense. They are allowing 76.1 points per game on 46 percent shooting to foes. Juevol Myles (16.0 ppg) is the top scoring option on the team though he has not been particularly efficient, hitting just 39.3 percent of his shot attempts. Trevor Gruis (11.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and Brandon Bos (10.5 ppg) have been steady complementary options as each shoots better than 47 percent from the field.
In its win over North Dakota State it was the Jackrabbits that pulled off a big second half to secure the win. South Dakota State erased a 37-31 deficit at halftime by connecting on 57.1 percent of its shots in the second period, including a 4-of-8 effort from beyond the arc, while holding the Bison to just 25 percent shooting.
South Dakota State won't be scared off by South Dakota's offensive production. The Jackrabbits rank right behind the Coyotes in scoring (72.6 ppg), while shooting a superior 46 percent from the field. The Jackrabbits have been very good at making the extra pass and finding the open man as they lead the conference in assists (14.5 pg). Nate Wolters (21.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 5.7 apg) has been sensational for the Jackrabbits this season leading the scoring and assisting charge for South Dakota State. The 6-foot-4 guard also ranks second in the conference in scoring and at the very top in assists. Jordan Dykstra (12.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Tony Fiegen (10.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg) have provided additional support from the frontcourt.
Although the Jackrabbits were knocked off by the Coyotes last time they faced each other with the game being played in the friendly confines of Frost Arena, the Jackrabbits should rectify that.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Dakota State 79, South Dakota 71
01/31 10:36:21 ET
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