BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — Saturday’s second chapter of the men’s State-U rivalry featured another thrilling finish between the Jacks and the Yotes.
The Jackrabbits jumped out to a strong start Saturday night as they led by double digits early in the contest.
“We took that eleven point lead in the first half and they took a punch, so you’ve got to give them credit. From there on, it was a ball game,” SDSU head coach Eric Henderson said.
USD came clawing back, thanks to a strong finish in the first half and strong start to the second half. Part of that motivation stemmed from their 18 point blow out loss to SDSU in January.
“Obviously, I was disappointed with the way I played and I the way our team played when we played SDSU in Vermillion. I knew that we had to come out and be the aggressors and make plays from the beginning, to let them know we were hear,” USD guard AJ Plitzuweit said.
The Coyotes led for a chunk of the second half, but in the closing minutes of the game, USD was held scoreless, while SDSU got back-to-back clutch shots from Zeke Mayo.
Those sequence of events helped lift the Jacks to a 72-67 win.
“I trust everyone on this squad. Our team does a great job. There were so many moments where our team stayed resilient all game long,” Mayo said.
“I mean, I have great faith in our guys. Our guys haven’t panicked all year and we’ve played a really hard schedule and we’ve been in some really tough environments. Not every one have been this close, but a lot of them have,” Henderson said.
The Jackrabbits are now 10-4 in the Summit League, while USD has fallen to 6-8. The Coyotes have a key stretch ahead of them as they look to build off Saturday’s tough loss.
“Playing well on the road helps, this is a tough atmosphere. You know, going into the next stretch, it’s just bringing that positive energy like, ‘hey guys, if we play like that, if we play together like that and that connected and clean up a little bit of stuff on the glass, we’ve got a chance,” Peterson said.
The Jackrabbits hit the road Thursday to play at Denver, while the Coyotes travel south to play Omaha.