Summit League Men’s Preview: North Dakota State at South Dakota State
When South Dakota State takes the floor at Frost Arena Saturday afternoon against North Dakota State in Brookings, the Jacks will be doing something they haven't done in three years, try to rebound from a home loss in Summit League play.
Last week began with a 9-point win over Western Illinois. The Leathernecks are a team that likes to really slow things down when the have the basketball, and the Jacks did their best to make it difficult on them, starting each half with a run, 11-2 in the first, 10-2 in the second.
SDSU couldn't pull away in the second half, shooting just 35% from the floor, but the Jacks kept the Leathernecks at bay thanks to 16-of-17 shooting from the free throw line in the second half.
SDSU Head Coach Scott Nagy on the win over the Leathernecks:
Two nights later, the slow down pace of Western Illinois was replaced with the up tempo game of Omaha, who took advantage of some early SDSU shooting woes (1-of-10) to take the lead 2:30 into the game, and never give it up, winning by 9.
The Jacks only turned the ball over 12 times in the game, but those miscues led to 21 Maverick points as guards CJ Carter and Marcus Tyus combined for 31 points.
Coach Nagy says it was poor execution by his team and great play from Omaha that led to the loss:
Nagy says the struggles South Dakota State is experiencing through the first two weeks of the Summit League schedule are extensions of what he says have been a series of bad practices for his team over the past few weeks:
The other troubling number for the Jacks defensively is the 50% shooting percentage Summit League opponents have racked up so far in four games. There are no quick fixes for turning that number around:
The one game South Dakota State plays this week is against the best shooting team in the Summit League, North Dakota State.
The Bison (14-5/3-1) were the pre-season favorites to win the conference this season, and so far they are tops in shooting percentage (50%), scoring (79 points per game), rebounding, blocked shots, and fewest turnovers.
Outside, NDSU has one of the top scorers in the league, Taylor Braun (17 points per game) and two of the most accurate shooters inside, Trayvonn Wright (58%) and Marshall Bjorklund (56%).
Coach Nagy recognizes all of that talent, but says the Jacks need to stick to the basics on defense to beat the Bison:
Tipoff is 4:00pm Saturday at Frost Arena in Brookings.