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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 1, 5 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: DakotaDome (10,000) -- Vermillion, South Dakota. Television: MidcoSN. Home Record: SDSU 7-3, USD 7-2. Away Record: SDSU 4-6, USD 1-9. Neutral Record: SDSU 0-1, USD 0-1. Conference Record: SDSU 3-3, USD 3-3. Series Record: South Dakota State leads, 116-92.
GAME NOTES: In-state rivals will collide on Saturday, as the South Dakota State Jackrabbits take on the South Dakota Coyotes in a Summit League battle at the DakotaDome.
This rivalry of the Mount Rushmore State has had 208 previous renditions, 116 of which have ended in victory for South Dakota State. However, the two teams have split the season series in each of the last two years.
Jordan Dykstra scored five points in the final 14 seconds as South Dakota State narrowly edged out Denver on Thursday, 74-73. The win ended a two-game slide for the Jackrabbits, who are just 11-10 overall and 3-3 in conference, a year removed from winning the Summit League title. They host IUPU-Fort Wayne and IUPUI in an important homestand next week.
South Dakota was not so fortunate on Thursday, falling just short against North Dakota State in a 66-63 decision to begin this three-game homestand. The Coyotes are now 8-12 overall, although they are sporting the same record in conference as the Jackrabbits. They will be outside of Summit League play and Division I action for that matter next time against Peru State.
Dykstra nailed a 3-pointer with 14 seconds to play to give South Dakota State a 72-71 lead, and then put the game out of reach with a pair of free throws just over 10 seconds later. The Jackrabbits' work on the offensive glass was important, as they outscored the Pioneers in second-chance points, 17-4.
Although the Jackrabbits are not having the same type of success as they did last season, there is still talent on the roster. Dykstra (16.7 ppg, 7.7 rpg) is the most important player on the team, leading the way in scoring and rebounding. He is also second in the league in scoring while topping it off on the boards. Brayden Carlson (15.5 ppg) is all the Jackrabbits could hope for in a second option, as he is also a top-five scorer in the conference. Cody Larson (13.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg) is also a reliable performer, ranking second in the league behind Dykstra on the glass. Chad White (10.3 ppg) fills in the gaps, but the Jackrabbits don't have much depth, with just one other player putting in more than five ppg.
Trevor Gruis missed a pair of free-throws that would have put South Dakota ahead with nine seconds to play against North Dakota State. Gruis had hit his other eight free-throw attempts in the game and still ended up with a team-high 16 points for the Coyotes, who limited the Bison to 39.3 percent shooting, but turned the ball more than twice as many times (13-6).
Gruis (12.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg) is shooting a career-best 71.7 percent from the charity stripe this season, as well as turning in a 56.4 percent effort from the floor, ranking fifth in the league in the latter category. Brandon Bos (13.4 ppg) teams with Gruis as the only other double-digit scorer on the roster. Bos had a chance to send Thursday's contest to overtime, but he missed a 3-point attempt in the closing seconds. He was inconsistent throughout the game, finishing with 14 points on just 4-of-14 shooting. Trey Norris (7.7 ppg, 4.6 apg) is tied for third on the team in scoring, despite shooting 38.2 percent from the floor, while handling the point.
The Coyotes are usually able to use the motivation of this rivalry to at least remain competitive with the Jackrabbits. They should do more than that on Saturday, especially if Gruis and Bos are more efficient.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Dakota 72, South Dakota State 70
02/01 11:54:59 ET
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