IUPUI (6-20) at South Dakota State (19-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 14, 8:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Frost Arena (6,500) -- Brookings, South Dakota.
Television: FCS, Midco Sports Net. Home Record: IUPUI 4-7, SDSU 11-0. Away
Record: IUPUI 1-11, SDSU 6-7. Neutral Record: IUPUI 1-2, SDSU 2-0. Conference
Record: IUPUI 1-11, SDSU 10-3. Series Record: South Dakota State leads, 6-6.
GAME NOTES: A pair of Summit League squads heading in opposite directions are
set for a Thursday night showdown, as the South Dakota Jackrabbits entertain
the IUPUI Jaguars at Frost Arena.
IUPUI's season has been a struggle from the very beginning, as it owns just a
6-20 overall record, and it occupies last place in the Summit League (1-11).
The Jaguars' woes have reached a new low in the past six weeks, and following
an 85-78 loss at home to Nebraska-Omaha last Saturday, they have now dropped
10 straight games dating back to late December.
While IUPUI has struggled, SDSU has soared to a 19-7 record, and at 10-3 in
leagua action it is just a half game behind Western Illinois for first place.
The Jackrabbits had been winners of a season-high, eight straight games
heading into Saturday's matchup, but they fell on the wrong end of an 88-83
decision at Oakland. Luckily they will play this one at home where they have
yet to lose in 11 matchups this season.
SDSU has won five straight bouts with IUPUI, including an 80-65 road triumph
on Jan. 19, to even the all-time series at 6-6.
Surprisingly enough, IUPUI held a comfortable 51-34 lead over Omaha at the
break in its latest game, but it was outshot from the field in the second half
(63 percent to 40 percent) and outscored from the foul line (14-1) as it saw
that advantage slip away down the stretch. Even in defeat, Sean Esposito and
Mitchell Patton were both outstanding with 23 points apiece, combining to
shoot 18-of-27 from the field. Esposito did most of his damage from 3-point
range (7-of-10), and Patton added seven rebounds and four blocks. Greg Rice
chipped in 16 points and five assists in the setback, while Donovan Gibbs
scored 12 points.
While the Jaguars' offense this season has been solid (.448 FG percentage,
67.8 ppg), their defense has been nothing short of awful, as they allow teams
to net nearly 77 ppg on 49.3 percent shooting from the field. With leading
scorer John Hart (14.2 ppg) ruled ineligible, Patton has assumed the role of
the team's top performer with 13.8 ppg, doing so on nearly 60 percent accuracy
from the field. Gibbs brings 10.4 ppg and 6.3 rpg to the table.
SDSU and Oakland battled back and forth in last weekend's clash, but Oakland
snapped a tie midway through the second half with a 9-0 run and the
Jackrabbits would never recover. Nate Wolters' incredible play of late
continued in the loss, as he tallied 36 points, seven assists and six
rebounds, and in the process became the school's all-time leader in assists
(609). Chad White was impressive as well with 21 points, while Brayden Carlson
and Tony Fiegen tallied 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Wolters is just a week removed from a 53-point effort against IUPU-Fort Wayne,
the highest single-game total in Division I in the past three seasons, and
that combined with his latest outburst has allowed him to climb all the way to
No. 4 on the nation's scoring chart with 22.8 ppg. The senior guard also adds
5.8 rpg and 5.5 apg, and if he can keep this pace up, he'll be the first
player in NCAA history to average 20 points, five rebounds and five assists
per game in two different seasons -- since assists became an official stat in
1983. Jordan Dykstra (12.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg) and Fiegen (10.4 ppg) have been more
than adequate second options for the Jackrabbits, who put up 73.7 ppg while
surrendering 66.3 ppg.
With one of the league's best teams hosting its last-place club, this one
likely won't be close. Expect Wolters to go off once again against the porous
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Dakota State 88, IUPUI 70
02/14 10:32:35 ET
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