Jackrabbits falter in blowout loss to NDSU in Fargo

Drue Aman

Drue AmanSports Editor

The most fitting number was on Clint Sargent’s jersey.


And from the tip-off, 10 looked like the number NDSU hoped and alley-ooped for and SDSU limped to prevent.

The Bison (14-14, 8-10) smothered every quality of the Jacks (18-11, 10-8) for a 10th straight victory over their conference rival in a lopsided 84-61 game that sealed another SDSU winless season against NDSU in Fargo, N.D. Feb. 25.

No stats can demonstrate the physical and mental braun the Bison seemed to have a handle on SDSU all night, but the Jacks shot a season-worst 33 percent from the field, tallied a season-low five assists and shot 22 percent from three-point range.

NDSU mostly dunked their way out of any trouble.

“Really didn’t expect this,” said guard Nate Wolters. “All of us just struggled, me and Clint [Sargent] go a combined 2-for-23, that’s just terrible – you’re not going to win games likes that.”

And they wouldn’t come close. At one point in the first half, SDSU missed 18 straight shots from the floor while the Bison completed buckets from everywhere on the floor in a 19-0 run that pinned the Jacks down 17 points.

The Jacks, who had nearly every player on the roster see playing time in the first half to find any semblance of rhythm, shot 15 percent in the game’s first 20 minutes while NDSU had as many crowd-pleasing dunks (four) as SDSU had field goals. Eric Carlson’s alley-oop dunk to end the first half was the climax, pushing the Bison lead back to 13 and killing any SDSU momentum.

“This is our 29th game, and even in our losses this is just the one game where we weren’t in it,” said SDSU head coach Scott Nagy. “There can be a million questions why but I don’t have the answer for it.”

Reasonings for such dominance on this particular night is cause for debate, but the conference standings state things should have went differently. The Bison entered losers of eight of their last 12 games and will enter the Summit League tournament as the seven seed while the Jacks had a chance at 20 wins on the way to their best regular season at the D-I level.

SDSU looked uncomfortable from tip-off.

“I knew they’d come out with a lot of energy,” said Wolters, who was the subject of chants from the NDSU student section during the game. “We just haven’t proved we can beat them.”

Not only that, the loss marks the second-consecutive season SDSU enters the Summit League tournament with back-to-back losses. Coincidentally, the Jacks have the same first-round matchup against IPFW, who SDSU lost to the in first round of the tournament last season.

Even with the tournament a full week removed from SDSU’s statistical worst-loss of the season, any momentum entering the four-day event will be generated in practice, not on the game court. Falling behind by 28 point at one point in the second half, the Jacks looked far from conference contenders, but rather victims of closing their most successful regular season at the D-I level in a forgettable way.

“I saw some things out there I didn’t like,” Nagy said.