SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The Jackrabbits are tourney bound again.
David Jenkins Jr. scored 29 points, Mike Daum had 25 points and 11 rebounds, and South Dakota State beat South Dakota 97-87 on Tuesday night to win the Summit League Tournament championship, clinching the Jackrabbits a third straight NCAA Tournament berth.
Daum was the Summit League Player of the Year, but was limited to 27 minutes because of foul trouble. Jenkins stepped up in his place in the first half with 16 points – he came in averaging 15.8 points per game.
“I made sure I stayed aggressive at all times,” Jenkins Jr. said. “I just took what the defense gave me.”
The Jackrabbits went on a 30-17 run with Daum on the bench. The first half featured 11 lead changes before SDSU opened things up.
SDSU took a 47-35 lead into halftime, with Daum getting just six points in seven minutes. He entered the game averaging 23.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.
“We’re not often times forced to play that many minutes in a half without Mike,” SDSU coach T.J. Otzelberger said. “If you look at our team night in and night out, different guys step up. If you’re a great team, that’s what you do.”
Reed Tellinghuisen added 18 points and 11 rebounds for SDSU (28-6), which has won 11 straight. The Jackrabbits shot 48 percent from the field, including 14 for 28 from the 3-point line.
SDSU built the lead to 20 in the second half before South Dakota mounted a challenge midway through the half. Brandon Key’s basket for the Jackrabbits made it 57-37 with just under 16 minutes to play. At that point, South Dakota was just 2 for 12 from the field in the second half.
“We really struggled guarding them, and they were cooking on all cylinders,” South Dakota coach Craig Smith said. “I just didn’t put our guys in a good enough position to win, especially during that run in the first half.”
The Coyotes chipped away at the lead. Nate Fuller came off the bench and scored five straight to cut it to 40-28 with 13:07 to play. It was the first time South Dakota had been within 12 since 40-28 late in the second half.
Tyler Hagedorn scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half for the Coyotes (26-8) to help fuel the run, which dwindled SDSU’s lead to six with just under three minutes to play.
Jenkins’ 3-pointer with 1:38 to play pushed the lead back to 11 at 90-79.
South Dakota’s leading scorer, Matt Mooney, led the Coyotes with 30 points but was 9 for 26 from the field, including 3 for 11 from the 3-point line.
Tyler Peterson had 15 points and six rebounds for South Dakota.
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