South Dakota State men's basketball put together another strong defensive effort but was hampered by 20 turnovers on the offensive end in a 71-59 loss to East Tennessee State at the Sanford Pentagon Showcase.
SDSU (1-6) held ETSU (4-1) to just 38 points in half-court offense, but a 33-8 advantage in points off turnovers proved to be the difference. The Jackrabbits shot 37 percent from the field as a team and hit eight of 24 on 3-pointers.
Mike Daum posted his second consecutive double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds, adding two assists over 36 minutes. A.J. Hess dropped 16 points with four 3-pointers and Reed Tellinghuisen added 15 points with five rebounds. Tevin King led the team with four assists.
ETSU's T.J. Cromer hit a pair of 3-pointers in the opening minute to put SDSU in an early hole, but a give-and-go, two-handed slam by Tellinghuisen from Ian Theisen got the Jacks on the scoreboard on their second possession. From there, SDSU and ETSU did not hit a field goal for nearly three minutes and A.J. Hess' free throws were the only points scored until Devontavius Payne had a 3-pointer just past the 16-minute mark, making it 9-4 in the Bucs' favor.
ETSU built its lead to 10 (14-4) before the under-12 media, and out of the pause Daum had a putback layup for to end an 8-0 ETSU run and score SDSU's first points in over four minutes. That lead hovered near 10 points the rest of the half, though the Jacks made a strong push with five unanswered to cut it to 21-16 at 5:14 after a 3-pointer from Tellinghuisen. The Bucs, however, recovered with six straight of their own inside three minutes before the break.
At the half, SDSU trailed 33-22 as all of the Jackrabbit points were scored by Daum (nine points), Hess (eight points) and Tellinghuisen (five points).
Both teams were plagued by turnovers in the first with 10 apiece, though ETSU capitalized with 15 points off of turnovers compared to SDSU's five points in that category in the opening 20 minutes.
South Dakota State opened the second half with four answered to bring the Jacks back within seven, 33-26, at 17:57, but ETSU scored 12 straight from there to stretch the Jacks' deficit back to double digits. During that stretch, a chaotic scene saw three technical fouls (two on SDSU) issued after a jump ball situation with the Jackrabbits on defense, as physical play increased and both teams reached the bonus soon after, setting up the potential for a free throw battle over the final 14 minutes of play.
SDSU saw its largest deficit reach 26 (60-34) at 10:13 before clawing back to within 10 (52-62) at 4:05 thanks to a 17-2 run that ended with 11 straight for the Jacks. That burst, however, wasn't enough as the ETSU lead was too much to overcome late in the game.
Head Coach T.J. Otzelberger
On positives out of the game ...
"Our guys kept playing hard through the finish and I think we did a good job competing on the defensive end for the most part. We can't turn the ball over, and we've got to get better at valuing the basketball. They had 33 points off of turnovers and that meant we worked really hard on the half court defense and I'm really proud of that. For the most part, we did a relatively decent job of keeping them off the boards. There's a big difference between playing hard and playing to win and we need to figure out the difference."
On being pleased with defensive efforts in zone ...
"Absolutely, I think last night they made five or six field goals against the half-court, set zone and tonight it was under 10 against a really good offensive team. We're kind of finding our identity with it on the defensive end of the floor, and it's going well for us but we definitely have to cash in on the offensive end because right now playing good defensively but coming out with another loss is not what we're trying to do."
On unforced turnover issues ...
"Certainly. When we have opportunities we're just not cashing in, in transition. Every time its 4-on-3, 3-on-2 or 2-on-1 and we just don't come away with those points. Those are unforced turnovers that we're just giving away. Not only are we not cashing in but a lot of times its a live ball turnover and they're coming back at us. We've got to do a better job in those situations of cashing in when we have those opportunities."
ETSU entered the game leading the nation in field goal percentage at 57.8 percent. The Jacks held the Bucs to a season-low 40.4 percent on field goals.
Mike Daum reached double figures in scoring for the fifth consecutive game (and sixth time this season). Daum now has 36 career double digit scoring games.
Mike Daum posted his third double-double of the season and second in as many games.
Mike Daum, A.J. Hess and Reed Tellinghuisen have been in double figures the past three games.
South Dakota State closes the Sanford Pentagon Showcase on Sunday, Nov. 27 as it takes on Milwaukee at 2:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports North.