BROOKINGS, S.D. (SDSU) – South Dakota State and Oral Roberts played a contest that was fitting for the top two teams in The Summit League on Saturday in Frost Arena, but the host Jackrabbits fell short to Oral Roberts on Senior Day by a score of 69-65 in front of a near sell-out crowd of 4,207.
Oral Roberts led for nearly the entire first half and used a 46.2% shooting clip in the opening 20 minutes to take a 40-31 lead into halftime.
SDSU spent the first eight minutes of the second half clawing back to make it a one-possession contest. A Matthew Mors layup with 11 minutes, 49 seconds remaining made it 53-51.
The Golden Eagles always had a response when the Jackrabbits looked to take control of the matchup.
A five-point scoring run put Oral Roberts back up 58-51, but SDSU scored five straight to cut it to 58-56 with 6:18 left. ORU again responded with five consecutive points, then consecutive field goals by Zeke Mayo pushed the score to 63-60 with 1:19 remaining.
The Jackrabbits forced a missed field goal on the next Golden Eagles possession, however, a missed 3-pointer on SDSU’s side of the court was snagged by Oral Roberts’ Kareem Thompson. His ensuing two free throws after a Jackrabbit foul made it 65-60 with 29 seconds left.
Matt Mims drained a 3-pointer for SDSU to slash the deficit to 65-63. The Jacks called a timeout on the ORU inbounds play to put on a full-court press. The Golden Eagles were able to get the ball in to Max Abmas on back-to-back possessions who was fouled and went to the line for four consecutive free throws. He made each opportunity.
Those attempts at the charity stripe held the Jackrabbits off who ran out of time.
The Jacks dropped to 18-12 overall and 13-5 in Summit League action. The Golden Eagles extended their winning streak to 14 games to finish the season with a 27-4 record. Oral Roberts ended the conference schedule with an undefeated record at 18-0.
- Oral Roberts held off SDSU despite shooting 26.7% from the field in the second half. The Jackrabbits outshot the Golden Eagles from the floor (42-36%), but ORU finished with an 11-7 edge from deep and made 18 of their 20 free throws while SDSU was just 8-for-10 at the charity stripe.
- The Jackrabbits had two 20-point scorers in the defeat. Matt Dentlinger went 10 of 15 from the field en route to a game-high 23 points. Mayo followed him with 20 and Mims finished with 10 points. Mayo ended the contest with his fourth double-double of the season as he grabbed 12 boards.
- The Golden Eagles had five double-digit scorers led by Connor Vanover’s 14 points. Abmas, who came into the game as a top five scorer in Division I men’s hoops at 22.6 points per game, scored 12 on 2 of 10 shooting.
The Jackrabbits look forward to The Summit League Tournament held in Sioux Falls at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center. SDSU is locked in as the No. 2 seed and will face the winner of the No. 7/10 seeded game. The Jackrabbits play in the quarterfinals against the winner of that game at approximately 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 4.