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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 30, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Magness Arena (7,200) -- Denver, Colorado. Television: ROOT-RM. Home Record: SDSU 7-3, Denver 5-3. Away Record: SDSU 3-6, Denver 4-5. Neutral Record: SDSU 0-1, Denver 1-2. Conference Record: SDSU 2-3, Denver 3-2. Series Record: Series is tied, 4-4.
GAME NOTES: A pair of Summit League teams with identical overall records get together at Magness Arena tonight, as the Denver Pioneers host the South Dakota State Jackrabbits.
The Pioneers, who are an even 10-10 on the season, are trying to extend their current win streak to four in a row as they defend their home floor. Last weekend, Denver managed to set down Western Illinois on the road in a 67-55 decision, moving the squad to 3-2 in conference play.
As for the Jackrabbits, a game under .500 (2-3) in league action, they're hoping to snap a two-game slide after bowing to North Dakota State last Saturday, 85-77, at home. The defeat was the third in the last four outings for a team that had previously won five in a row.
The Pioneers have won three of the four meetings played in Denver over the years, but overall the series is knotted at four games apiece.
Except for Jake Bittle who finished with just two points before fouling out, every starter scored in double figures for SDSU in the loss to North Dakota State last Saturday at Frost Arena. Brayden Carlson led the way with 22 points, Jordan Dykstra pitched in 17 and eight rebounds, followed by Chad White and Cody Larson with 16 and 14 points, respectively. Defensively, the Jacks allowed the visitors to shoot 56.3 percent from the field, which included an 8-of-15 effort behind the 3-point line.
One of three players to have started all 20 games this season for the Jackrabbits, Dykstra heads the scoring list with 16.6 ppg and is also first on the glass with 8.0 rpg. Rather surprisingly, Dykstra is also one of the better 3-point shooters for the program, converting close to 40 percent of his 91 attempts. Carlson (15.8 ppg) and Larson (13.7 ppg) are also solid contributors to the squad's overall scoring average of 72.1 ppg.
In one of the better defensive efforts this season, Denver held the Leathernecks to just 16 points through the first 20 minutes of action last Saturday, 55 points overall during the double-digit decision. At the offensive end, Chris Udofia posted a game-high 17 points and handed out five assists, followed by Jalen Love and Brett Olson with 14 and 12 points, respectively.
Similar to the Jackrabbits, Denver has also had three players start every game this season and they are also the top scorers currently. Olson, a 40.2 percent shooter from 3-point range who is also a staggering 92.4 percent accurate at the free-throw line, accounts for 14.4 ppg, followed by Udofia (12.4 ppg) who is not only the perfect passer for the squad with a team-best 77 assists, he is also tops with 52 blocked shots, a very rare combination.
If nothing else, at least Denver is heading in the right direction these days. With Udofia and Olson, the Pioneers also have a couple of proven commodities that should be able to carry the group tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Denver 71, South Dakota State 67
01/30 10:33:23 ET
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