Tied at 37-all with 12 minutes and 18 seconds left in Wednesday’s game at Belmont after Tony Fiegen’s first points of the game, the Bruins erupted for an 18-0 run that South Dakota State never recovered from in a 76-49 loss at the Curb Events Center in Nashville, Tenn.
“It started in the first half, you could see that we didn’t have great energy, we were down on the glass, we had our hands on every loose ball but couldn’t get to them, and that ties into the energy factor,” head coach Scott Nagy said. “We were in the game and we went one possession of zone defense, and that’s my fault, they hit a three and the flood gates opened.”
Nate Wolters finally snapped the Bruins run with a pair of free throws with 8:39 on the clock and SDSU trailing 55-39, but the Jacks could not overcome the deficit, as the 18-0 Belmont spurt turned into a 25-3 run, more than sealing the win.
Ranked 10th in the latest collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Top-25 poll, the Bruins improve to 8-3 on the season, while the Jackrabbits, ranked 13th in the same poll, fall to 9-4.
Wolters led the Jackrabbits with 13 points in the loss, adding eight rebounds and three assists. Brayden Carlson added 12 points and four rebounds.
Trevor Noack led all players, and four Bruins in double figures, with 24 points, Ian Clark added 15, Blake Jenkins 10 and Kerron Johnson 13 points. Jenkins also added 10 rebounds for the game’s only double-double.
SDSU committed just seven turnovers to Belmont’s 13, but the Bruins won the battle of the boards 43-30, and scored 36 points in the paint, compared to 16 from the Jackrabbits.
The Jackrabbits struggles started early, with an 8-for-31 effort from the floor in the first half, 25.8 percent, but SDSU still went into the locker room down just four at 26-22. Belmont shot 44.4 percent on 12-of-25 shooting in the first half, but did not make a 3-pointer in four tries.
While the Jacks shooting did not improve in the second half, 28.1 percent on 9-of-32 from the floor, Belmont’s 3-point shooting did. The Bruins went 7-for-11 from distance in the second half, 63.6 percent, compared the Jackrabbits combined total of 3-for-21, 14.3 percent.
SDSU looks to rebound from the loss on Saturday, when the Jackrabbits travel to Albuquerque, N.M., to take on No. 16 New Mexico at The Pit, the same arena where the Jackrabbits played in the NCAA Tournament last season.