Wolters’ world

Drue Aman

Drue Aman Sports Editor

It looked like a game both teams simultaneously wanted to win and to not lose. And maybe if not for Nate Wolters, IPFW plays Oakland tomorrow night.

But the Jacks hanged on, evading a steady climb back from IPFW, with Wolters sealing it late in the game, exactly when SDSU desperately needed a big performance.

SDSU won 85-72 to clinch a berth in the semi-finals against Oakland despite a marginal offensive effort in the second half and repeated foul trouble. Whenever it looked like the Jacks would unravel their once-enormous lead, the first-team all-conference Wolters toed the free-throw line or sunk a difficult jumper.

They’ll take the win, regardless of the circumstances. The nearly packed Arena – 6,436 fans to be exact – will take it, too.

“They did a great job of lifting us up,” said Jacks senior Dale Moss, who finished with 21 points on 7 of 8 shooting from the field. “We knew if we came out and did what we were supposed to we’d have a big backing, we made a play and fed off the crowd.”

Enthusiasm from Jacks fans was easy to create. The Jacks rushed to a 13-2 lead prompting two quick timeouts and early thoughts of a forthcoming SDSU game tomorrow night. But the Mastodons wouldn’t fade, shortening the lead to 14 by half and appearing, by all means, capable of a comeback.

“Comeback’ appeared the theme of the second half, as well. While the Jacks shot mediocre, IPFW looked elite, shooting 57 percent in the second half and just a couple defensive stops from retaking the lead.

“Very physical game, and we knew it would be,” said SDSU head coach Scott Nagy, now 2-2 in Summit League tournament play. “We made the plays that we needed to make.”

A couple plays stand out. With the shot clock winding down, Wolters dribbled at the top of the key, stood stationary for a few moments, then shot a quick three-pointer that deflected off the rim and in. It pushed SDSU’s lead to nine points and came at a point when the Mastodons momentum radiated so clearly that every member of their team bench stood up in support.

Then there’s Moss, who offered the usual athletic and crowd pleasing performance at times and harnessed rebounds when the Jacks needed a stop and needed another shot clock.

Notice a trend?

IPFW wouldn’t submit ending their season easily. A 6-0 run over only twenty seconds dwindled the lead to four with 24 seconds left. But six made throws – four by Wolters – quelled the Mastodons rally for good.

“We knew they [IPFW] were going to make a run and weren’t going to blow them out,” Wolter said. “When they got it down to four we just kept our composure, that really helped us and we got the win.”

#1.2071524:1044590178.jpg:Dale Moss:Dale Moss drives to the basket against IPFW Sunday. Moss finished with 21 points and nine rebounds in 38 minutes. The Jacks play Oakland at 6 p.m. Monday.:Collegian Photo by Stephen Brua