Jacks blow out Coyotes in rivalry return



They may have moved to Division I, but the Coyotes still are not in the Jackrabbits’ league.

SDSU rolled up seven three-pointers in the first half and nine for the game, blowing out USD, 86-56, in front of 6,216 fans at a sold out Frost Arena.

Senior Griffan Callahan led SDSU (14-5, 6-1 Summit) with 20 points, powered by five three-pointers in the first meeting between the Jacks and ‘Yotes (6-10, 1-6 Summit) since 2004. The Jackrabbits built a 13-4 lead in the first four-and-a-half minutes, and with everything going right for SDSU early, it set the theme for the night.

“It was definitely a big factor in the game,” Callahan said. “The fans were a big help, and we knew we wanted to get a jump on them. And we knew that if we did, we would be good.”

A boisterous and mostly respectful crowd kept it loud for much of the game until the Jackrabbits had it in hand. SDSU constructed a 30-point lead just before halftime with 50 points before the buzzer went off, a new high-water mark for the Jacks at home since moving to Division I.

“It was kind of anti-climatic,” SDSU coach Scott Nagy said. “Our goal was to have a lot of energy defensively and be good defensively because if you want to win conference championships, you can’t play the way we did at Oral Roberts.”

Emotions were completely opposite on the Coyotes’ side.

“We didn’t guard,” USD coach Dave Boots said. “We had no ability to guard them in the first half. They are good and they had a lot to do with the way that they played but we didn’t guard them very well.”

Boots called his team the “worst shooting team we’ve had.” USD could not generate nearly enough offense to hang with the Jacks, shooting 24 percent in the first 20 minutes. The Coyotes made seven field goals in the first half — SDSU made seven three-pointers in the same span.

“They got ahead quickly and give them all of the credit, they shot the ball really well,” said USD guard Louie Krogman.

A White River, S.D. native, Krogman found himself the subject of many of the chants from the SDSU students.

“It was all in fun,” Krogman said. “They don’t really mean what they say, and it doesn’t really get me fired up or knock me off my game.”

Nate Wolters scored 13 points for the Jacks and Tony Fiegen scored 10. Krogman led USD with 15 points and Trevor Gruis had 14 for the Coyotes.

In the first sellout for the men since moving to Division I, both sides agreed that it was important to keep perspective.

“It’s good for South Dakota basketball to get this game back,” Boots said. “But we have to compete with them for it to be a rivalry. They’ve been through the transition and it shows.”

“For us, the reason the game was important because we want to win a conference championship, and you have to win the home games,” Nagy said. “At this level, now if we get a win I’m happy with it and feel thankful.”

With that in mind, put the blinders are back on for Nagy, who will take little time to celebrate their state pride triumph with UMKC waiting in the wings on Saturday.

“We have a game to play Saturday and it’s just as important,” he said.