SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A strong defensive performance propelled #8 Omaha to a 52-40 win over top-seeded SDSU.
“I thought they (Omaha) had a good defensive plan. They made things hard for us where we like to score around the paint,” SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston said. “I think they’re a good team, they just haven’t been healthy all together. That lineup out there was a pretty good team, I think.”
The Jacks have earned a quarterfinal win and advanced to the semifinal round of Summit League Tournament in each of the last six seasons. During that run, SDSU has outscored their opponents by an average of 23 points.
However, the 2021 season has been extraordinary from no fans, to the Jacks having to play a tight first round game.
The first quarter saw a low scoring battle where both teams turned the ball over five times, but a review gave SDSU an 11-10 lead.
The second quarter remained a close contest until the Mavericks closed the half on a 5-0 run, taking a 29-24 lead to the locker room.
SDSU had nine turnovers, but the biggest key was Omaha’s dominance in the paint. The Mavericks outscored the Jacks 18-4 in the paint in the first half.
The beginning of the third quarter went Omaha’s way as they pushed their lead up to twelve, 40-28.
However, a turning point occurred late in the quarter when SDSU true freshman Madysen Vlastuin chased down an offensive rebound and then buried a corner three just before the shot clock buzzer.
That sparked the Jacks a little bit as they outscored Omaha 5-0 to end the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Mavericks put an end to the Jacks momentum as they built their lead back to ten, 43-33.
And from there, the Jacks offense struggled as Omaha finished strong and earned the upset win over SDSU.
“They (Omaha) made a couple jump shots and then we started pressing, which created some turnovers,” Johnston said.
“Credit to Omaha’s defense, they definitely had a plan to execute it very well, but I think, uncharacteristic for us, when we didn’t see those shots fall, then we weren’t able to get back into our system and I don’t necessarily know a reason for that,” SDSU senior Tylee Irwin said. “It was really disappointing for us, especially offensively.”
For the first time in SDSU’s time in the Summit League, the Jackrabbits will not advance to the semifinal round.
Coach Aaron Johnston along with players Tylee Irwin and Paiton Burckhard talked to the media after the game.
View the postgame press conference above: