BROOKINGS, S.D. (SDSU) — Jackrabbit men’s basketball claimed at least a share of its third-consecutive Summit League regular season title Sunday with an 85-80 victory over South Dakota.
Playing in front of a season-high 4,572 fans, South Dakota State (22-8, 13-2 Summit League) shot 50 percent from the field and used a 9-0 run midway through the second half to put the Coyotes away.
“I want to thank our incredible fans for an exciting year at Frost Arena,” head coach Eric Henderson said. “The support that they’ve given us all year always gives us a bunch of energy and allows us to play with a tremendous amount of confidence. We just can’t thank them enough for how special they are and the support that they give us.
“Today’s game obviously had an incredible atmosphere. Coach (Todd) Lee does a great job with his guys, but I was really proud of our guys’ effort today. We had a bunch of fight, and we had a bunch of compete. We weren’t perfect, but we made some big plays down the stretch. I’m really proud that we came out on top.”
Noah Freidel led all scorers with 26 points, draining three 3-pointers and burying 7-of-8 from the free throw line.
Douglas Wilson, who missed the first matchup due to injury, made his presence felt early and often on his way to a 20-point, seven-rebound showing.
Alex Arians and David Wingett each scored 13 points. Arians, who matched Matt Dentlinger and Brandon Key with a team-high three assists, recorded seven rebounds.
Wingett and Freidel each brought down six boards.
The Jackrabbits roared out of the gates on a 9-2 run, thanks in part to a Wilson dunk and Wingett 3-pointer in the early-going. USD answered back with a 10-2 run, making it a one-point game just past the under-12 break (18-17). The teams traded runs once more on their way to a 31-27 Coyote lead, when a triple for Wingett at 3:51 set up a competitive finish to the half.
South Dakota State trailed South Dakota at the break, 34-32.
An Arians jumper moments into the half started a back-and-forth flurry that featured nine lead changes before the under-12 media timeout. Down 59-56 with 8:10 to play, an old-fashioned 3-point play from Freidel opened a nine-point Jackrabbit rally as State took control for good.
The Coyotes stayed within striking distance the rest of the way, but the Jacks buried six of their final eight free throw attempts down the stretch to hold off any USD charges.
- Brandon Key and Beau Brown were honored on Senior Day.
- South Dakota State is now 131-95-1 all-time against South Dakota.
- The Jackrabbits have won 24 straight at home, currently tied for the nation’s second-longest active streak. SDSU posted its eighth undefeated record inside Frost Arena all-time, going 16-0 in Brookings this season.
- Noah Freidel scored 20-plus points for the second consecutive game and the sixth time this season.
South Dakota State wraps up the 2019-20 regular season Thursday at North Dakota State. The Jackrabbits and Bison tip at 7 p.m. in Fargo, North Dakota. SDSU can clinch the No. 1 seed in next month’s Summit League Championship with a win.