Five Jackrabbits scored in double figures and South Dakota State pulled away in the second half en route to a 90-58 win over Minnesota Crookston Wednesday evening at Frost Arena.
Playing in front of 1,669 fans, SDSU (3-6) shot 65.3 percent from the field and hit 12 of 21 3-pointers on the night. UMC (3-2) counted the game as an exhibition, but shot 33.9 percent as a team and hit 13 of 35 3-pointers, including 10 in the first half.
Helping the Jacks was a 40-12 advantage in points in the paint alongside a 37-20 rebounding edge.
Ian Theisen netted a career-high 16 points to the Jacks, while Mike Daum had 14 points, Reed Tellinghuisen and Tevin King (who also had a career-high) added 13 apiece and A.J. Hess finished with 10.
Daum and Sergio El Darwich paced the team with seven rebounds while King pulled down five. El Darwich added a career-high seven points and dished out eight assists.
South Dakota State opened the game on an 11-3 run with three 3-pointers in the opening four minutes of game action and never looked back, stretching its lead to 10 (17-7) just past the 13-minute mark as Andre Wallace hit his first layup of the game.
UMC cut the deficit in half (21-16) at 9:30 and though SDSU hit continued to hit shots on the other end, the Jacks couldn't extend their lead back to double figures until 5:27, as Minnesota Crookston's Connor Gamble hit five 3-pointers in a span of five minutes to keep the visitors within striking distance before a layup from Hess put SDSU ahead, 36-27.
Both teams continued to light up the nets before halftime, as SDSU went to the locker room shooting 69.2 percent and seven of 17 (58.3 percent) from long range, and UMC hit 10 of its 21 3-pointers in the opening half.
Ahead 45-38 inside with less than 30 seconds to go in the opening frame, SDSU looked as if it would come up empty on its final possession after a turnover. King, however, tracked the ball down, stole it at midcourt and dished it to Theisen near the top of the key, where the Jackrabbit big man sunk a buzzer-beating 3-pointer off the backboard to put SDSU in the lead, 48-38, at the break.
SDSU's first points of the second came off a fast break assist from El Darwich, who slipped a bounce pass between two UMC defenders to a wide-open Daum in the lane for a two-handed slam at 18:25.
The Jacks held Minnesota Crookston scoreless through the opening 4:17 of the second frame, but a burst of five unanswered for the Golden Eagles moved the margin back to single digits near the 15-minute mark. Tellinghuisen and Hess moved the Jackrabbit lead back to 13 (56-43) with treys on back-to-back possessions, however, and the Golden Eagles would not come within 10 the rest of the way.
Theisen hit a pair of free throws with 12:14 to play and sparked SDSU on a 12-4 run to give the Jacks their first 20-point lead of the night, 69-49, at the under eight media called at 7:30. That push continued until past the 1:30 mark of the game as the run reached 29-5 and ended with 11 consecutive for SDSU as UMC was held without a point for a span of 4:49.
SDSU's largest lead of the night, 35 (87-52), came with 2:26 to play before the Jacks closed out their first win by 30 or more since Nov. 13 of last season.
Head Coach T.J. Otzelberger
On tonight's win ...
"I was happy tonight with the way we shared the basketball. Our message has been valuing the ball overall. I thought that's what we really did against Milwaukee when you looked at halftime. We had zero points in transition, zero points off turnovers and zero in second chance. As much as if felt like they were hitting shots against the one-three-one, which they did, 17 points off our turnover, that's kind of been the thing we tried to clean up. I'm really happy with the 23 assists, that's a big number for us and something to build on."
On Sergio El Darwich's play ...
"Sergio has done a great job. He's definitely given us a spark at that point guard spot. He's given us somebody that is a really great distributor. His size and vision is phenomenal and he did a great job again tonight with eight assists."
On Tevin King's defensive efforts ...
"Tevin has been our heart and soul defensively. That one-three-one is the position you have to be a warrior in and for Tevin to come in today; I think his defensive energy really set his offense up. For him to have three 3s, 13 points, that type of production is awesome for the team. I think our guys really feed off that too, so it's great to see."
South Dakota State welcomes UMKC to Frost Arena this Saturday, Dec. 3 for an 11 a.m, tipoff to open a busy day of Jackrabbit athletics. After the men's game, football hosts Villanova in a playoff game at 2 p.m., and the women's basketball squad closes the day at 6 p.m., against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.