BROOKINGS, S.D. — South Dakota State men’s basketball claimed a 90-78 win over Denver Friday at Frost Arena, using a strong second half to remain undefeated at home.
The Jackrabbits (19-8, 10-2 Summit League) shot 46 percent in the win and outscored the Pioneers in the paint, 48-32. SDSU trailed 26-14 in rebounds at the half, but flipped the script on Denver in the second half to sit in a 40-40 tie on the boards.
Matt Dentlinger posted his fourth double-double of the season with 22 points and 11 rebounds, going 6-of-8 from the field with a pair of blocks. Douglas Wilson poured in a team-best 23 points and sank 8-of-11 field goals. Wilson added three blocks and grabbed eight rebounds.
Noah Freidel scored all 16 of his points in the second half, and finished just shy of a triple-double, adding seven rebounds and a team-high eight assists.
“It’s been a unique last couple of weeks for us, as we’ve had long stretches where we haven’t played,” head coach Eric Henderson said. “In the first half, obviously we struggled a little bit but I think a lot had to do with just the flow. There were 25 fouls called in the half and we didn’t have as much energy as Denver did. They outrebounded us by 12 in the first half and played a lot harder than us.
“Give Denver a lot of credit. They continue to fight and Coach (Rodney) Billups has them ready to play every night. Our guys really responded in the second half. We ended up tying them on the glass and that was a big part of how we were able to come back and have a pretty good second half. “
Wilson fueled a 7-0 Jackrabbit run that gave State separation early, but Denver rallied to tie it at nine near the 16-minute mark, setting the stage for a back-and-forth opening half that featured seven ties and three lead changes.
A 10-0 Pioneer run gave Denver a 29-24 advantage with 6:16 left in the half, as State worked through nearly a six-minute stretch without a field goal. Freidel found Matt Mims in transition for a 3-pointer at 3:48 though and Frost Arena came to life. The teams continued to trade buckets until the break, however, and the Jackrabbits trailed Denver at halftime, 39-36.
Denver continued its hot shooting early in the second, opening up a 48-43 lead, but saw the Jacks respond with five quick points, tying it on a Freidel triple at 15:18. Though the Pioneers briefly regained a 59-57 advantage, 11 unanswered Jackrabbit points followed as State took control for good.
The Jacks stretched their lead to a game-high 15 with 1:05 to play, outscoring Denver by 15 in the final 20 minutes to defend home court.
- South Dakota State is 18-6 all-time against Denver and has swept the season series with the Pioneers.
- The Jackrabbits have won 22 straight at home, currently tied for the nation’s second-longest active streak.
- Friday’s game included 44 personal fouls, one technical and 46 combined free throw attempts.
- Matt Dentlinger has now scored 20 or more in three league games, while Douglas Wilson broke the 20-point mark for the 10th time this season (and second game in a row).
South Dakota State closes its homestand Sunday against Purdue Fort Wayne. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.