BROOKINGS, S.D. (SDSU) – South Dakota State and North Dakota State needed all 40 minutes in Frost Arena on Saturday to see who’d take the latest edition of the rivalry between the two sides in men’s basketball, but the Jackrabbits were carried by a season-high crowd of 3,031 fans and eventually closed out a 90-85 victory over the Bison.
NDSU was the aggressor from the opening tip-off and took an early lead. Grant Nelson had 11 points in first six minutes of the contest and the Bison held a 22-9 edge at the 11:45 mark of the first half.
A pair of back-to-back 3-pointers by Matt Mims and Zeke Mayo brought the margin to single digits. SDSU continued to trim the deficit over the course of the first half. NDSU led for over 18 of the first 20 minutes, however a Mayo 3-pointer made in front of the visiting bench with four seconds on the clock made it 43-41 score at halftime.
Matt Dentlinger converted on a layup, then Mayo hit a jumper in the point to give the Jackrabbits their first lead to begin the second half. Six minutes into the second half, SDSU had its largest lead of the contest, 60-54. NDSU wouldn’t go away though as Andrew Morgan finished off a layup to put the Bison up 68-67 with 8:20 remaining.
Three lead changes occurred over the next five minutes. A William Kyle III dunk and then two free throws by Mayo lifted the Jackrabbits ahead 81-78 with 2:15 left. SDSU wouldn’t trail again.
SDSU went up by as many as five with under a minute to go, however a Jacari White layup for the Bison cut the margin in favor of SDSU to 86-85 with nine seconds left. A pair of Mayo free throws gave the Jacks an 88-85 advantage with NDSU having another opportunity to tie the game. SDSU forced a turnover on the ensuing inbounds play with Zeke Mayo coming away with a steal.
Matt Mims closed the game out with two free throws and gave South Dakota State a season split with North Dakota State.
Zeke Mayo produced one of the best scoring performances ever by a Jackrabbit in Frost Arena on Saturday. The sophomore guard scored a career-high 41 points on 14-for-25 from the field and 6 of 9 from deep. The 41 points are tied for the sixth most ever in a game by a Jackrabbit, while the total is the second most by an SDSU player in Frost Arena, trailing only two 42-point performances by Mike Daum. The 14 field goals are tied for the fourth most in a single game by a Jackrabbit men’s basketball player.
Mayo also had a game-high five assists and produced two steals.
Joining him in double digits scoring were Dentlinger (17), Alex Arians (15) and Kyle III (12). Dentlinger played 36 minutes in the contest and had five rebounds and a block. Arians competed for 35 minutes and went 5-for-10 from the field. Kyle III had three blocks for the Jacks, collected a team-high eight rebounds and went 6-for-6 from the floor.
The Bison were paced by Nelson who had a team-high 27 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. Joining him in double digit scoring were White (18) and Damari Wheeler-Thomas (13).
SDSU improved to 14-11 overall and 9-4 in Summit League play with the victory. North Dakota State dropped to 9-15 (6-6).
- SDSU has now won 18 straight Summit League games in Frost Arena dating back to the 2020-21 season. The Jackrabbits have also earned 11 straight victories overall in the month of February going back to that same year.
- SDSU finished with a season-low two turnovers. That output is the lowest in a game for the program during its Division I era (previous best was three on two occasions).
- South Dakota State finished with a strong 33-for-62 performance from the field (53.2), but were nearly upstaged as NDSU accumulated a 59.6% mark on a 34-for-57 clip. Both teams made eight 3-pointers.
South Dakota State has a week off from competition before returning to Frost Arena. The Jackrabbits will host South Dakota on their home floor on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 6 p.m.