Jacks prepare to open Summit play


In a way, the Jackrabbits men’s basketball team achieved what they needed to do.

SDSU won all four games against comparable talent and learned what it will take to beat a power conference squad in its three losses, where they faded down the stretch.

In a Summit League scheduling quirk, the Jacks will temporarily jump into conference play for two games, starting tonight against IUPUI in Indianapolis and then a trip to Western Illinois on Saturday. The trip marks the final two games of the Jacks eight-game road trip over the last two-and-a-half weeks, a string of games that SDSU coach Scott Nagy admitted was too long.

At 4-3, the Jacks will have to adjust to their struggles on offense. SDSU has watched its shooting percentage drop from nearly 47 percent a year ago to 41 percent. Similar trends have also played out early in the year at the free throw line and three-point stripe.

“I’ve been coaching long enough to know that I shouldn’t assume but I figured we would be really good offensively and we’ve haven’t been really this whole year,” Nagy said. “We spent probably 80 to 90 percent of our time working on defense and our defense is better so right now it’s going to have to carry us until we can spend some time getting our offense figured out.”

Averaging 11 points less than last year is going to be tough getting used to. The Jacks remain slim on height, but sophomore Jordan Dykstra will try to play Thursday for the Jackrabbits, while nursing a injured foot which has limited his playing time recently.

“We’re just not shooting the ball very well right now. If we make a few shots here or there, all of those games are different. It’s something we just need to get figured out,” guard Nate Wolters said.

If the Jackrabbits want to be considered among conference’s legitimate contenders, their proving ground needs to be where SDSU has never won before, like IUPUI, who they face Thursday night.

“Conference play feels more important and it is kind of strange to play in conference and then go back to playing non-conference but these games will have a lot to say about where we finish in March. I think everybody knows that and they know how important it is and we’re working hard to be focused at practice,” Nagy said.

For at least this weekend, the long road continues.

“We definitely played a tougher schedule than we did last year, non-conference and being on the road for that long was tough but we have to get back after it and pick up two more wins,” guard Nate Wolters said.