SAVANNAH, G.A. (SDSU) – The South Dakota State men’s basketball team broke away from Valparaiso in the second half as the Jackrabbits earned a 61-50 victory on Friday, Nov. 25, in the opening game of the Hostillo Community Classic at Enmarket Arena.
The Jackrabbits and Beacons were tied at 23 at halftime with Valpo holding a 32-27% shooting edge from the field.
The second half began with a William Kyle III field goal and SDSU wouldn’t relinquish the lead again. A Ben Krikke jumper for the Beacons with just over 16 minutes remaining cut their deficit to one, but the ensuing possession saw SDSU’s Charlie Easley connect on a 3-pointer.
SDSU stretched the lead to double digits on multiple occasions and didn’t see its advantage get cut less than seven over the final six minutes of play. A Zeke Mayo field goal with 1:44 left gave the Jacks their largest lead of the game of 13 before Valpo hit the final basket of the contest with under a minute remaining on the clock.
The Jackrabbits shot 56% in the second half and finished 21 of 51 (41.2%) from the field. SDSU also was 13 of 15 (86.7%) at the free throw line. The Beacons went 22-for-60 (36.7%) shooting on the day. SDSU improved to 3-3 overall while Valpo dropped to 2-4.
The Beacons didn’t visit the free throw line once in the contest which is a first in SDSU’s Division I era against an opponent. Valpo was led by Kobe King who scored a team-high 18 points. Krikke, who was averaging over 20 points per game entering the day, scored 12 points on 6 of 16 shooting (37.5%). Krikke also had nine rebounds.
SDSU had three double-digit scorers in Kyle III (17), Mayo (11) and Alex Arians (10). Kyle III was 7-for-8 from the free throw line while his point total was a career high. Mayo had a team-high 13 rebounds which tied his career and season best in the category. He also paced the Jacks with four assists.
The Jackrabbits’ 50 points given up is the least versus SDSU by a Division I foe since Feb. 26, 2021, when the Jacks defeated Kansas City 67-49 in Brookings.
South Dakota State continues play at the Hostillo Community Classic Saturday. The Jackrabbits close out their showing in Savannah when they take on James Madison at 11 a.m. CST in Enmarket Arena.