South Dakota State not only beat a ranked team for the first time at the Division I level on Saturday, the Jackrabbits also ended No. 16 New Mexico’s perfect 12-0 start to the season with a 70-65 win in front of 15,278 fans inside The Pit in Albuquerque, N.M. on Saturday.
“I don’t know if anybody in the country has taken a tougher road trip than this trip this year, and I’m really proud of our guys to come out of it 2-1,” head coach Scott Nagy said. “We played three NCAA teams, and we knew that the 1,200 mile bus trip would have no effect on how we played, we’re used to bus trips and we weren’t going to use it as an excuse.”
Fresh off a loss to Belmont on Wednesday, the Jackrabbits, who improve to 10-4 on the season, rode a bus the 1,200 miles to Albuquerque from Nashville, after weather problems cancelled their flights on Thursday.
Nate Wolters led the Jackrabbits in the win, their first against a ranked Division I opponent, with a game-high 28 points, adding five rebounds and seven assists.
“He’s still not healthy, that’s the thing,” Nagy said of Wolters. “But today he had more juice today than I’ve seen him have in the last five games. He was active emotionally, and that’s what we need from him.”
Chad White added 13 points, including four clutch free throws late in the game. Jordan Dykstra and Brayden Carlson both finished with 10 points, with Dykstra adding a game-high 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.
The Lobos scored the first three points of the game, but the Jackrabbits scored the next eight points, part of a 12-2 run that gave SDSU a 12-5 lead with five and a half minutes off the first half clock.
SDSU took the lead on a White 3-pointer just two minutes and six seconds into the game, a lead that the Jackrabbits would never relinquish.
The Jacks built that lead to as many as 12 points at 35-23 with 4:50 left in the half, before New Mexico used a 9-0 run to cut the lead to 35-32 with a minute and a half left in the opening stanza, but SDSU still took a 38-34 lead into the locker room at halftime.
A Dykstra 3-pointer early in the second half pushed the SDSU lead back to nine points at 45-36, before the Lobos made a push to get back within one possession at 51-48 with 8:57 on the clock.
Dykstra answered with a trey on the other end to push the lead back to six, and the Lobos never got closer than four points for the rest of the game.
Kendall Williams led the Lobos, who fall to 12-1 on the season, with 21 points. Tony Snell added 13 points.
The Jackrabbits get a short holiday break before returning to Summit League play on Saturday at North Dakota State at 7 p.m.
Courtesy: Ryan Sweet, SDSU