Jackrabbits 35-point win largest of season

Drue Aman

Drue AmanSports Editor

Senior leadership.

From the tantalizing leaping ability of Dale Moss to the adroit shooting touch of Clint Sargent, to the stable defense of bench player Peyton Tivis, that’s what Jan. 22’s game against IPFW seemed to be about.

Senior leadership. That, and bare feet. Oh, and a clubbing of the Mastodons.

SDSU (13-7, 5-4) scored more than enough points while stifling a disoriented IPFW (12-7, 6-3) team – a team two games better in the conference standings heading into the matchup – in a 87-52 SDSU shellacking at Frost Arena.

It was no coincidence that, with the theme of senior leadership, Sargent and Moss heeded the call. Moss’ 17 point effort on 8-of-12 shooting in a 28 minute performance of energy and high-flying athleticism. Sargent’s cool-handedness from beyond the arc resulted in 24 points of his own, all in 25 minutes. But SDSU’s defense effort resounds the most, in part due to the defensive foibles in home conference games to start the season, in which SDSU entered only 1-3 at home.

“We were just really locked in,” said Sargent, “We fed off that offensively and it gave us energy.”

That defensive-inspired energy was complemented by the play off Moss. His put-back, one-handed dunk off a missed Nate Wolters lay-up escalated SDSU’s level of play and exhilarated the Frost Arena crowd of 3,559. Those two loud points with 9:31 left in the first half increased SDSU’s lead to 10 only to increase by double before halftime.

“This was a thorough beating,” said IPFW head coach Dane Fife. “That’s about all I have to say … I would say that coach Nagy has his team playing at a very high level right now.”

That level of play included some season-bests, and from where SDSU needed it most: defensively. IPFW’s 13 percent shooting from three-point range and 35 percent shooting from floor are the lowest percentages allowed all season. Those numbers far out-shined modest offensive numbers (10 points) from SDSU’s leading scorer, Wolters – who had put up over 30 points in each of the Jacks’ previous two doubleheader games, both losses.

“Our backs were against the wall a little bit, we knew if we lost we’d be three games back,” said SDSU head coach Scott Nagy. “I think that was the case; theirs were not against the wall and ours were, and we played with some desperation.”

That style of play has eluded SDSU at times during their time in the Summit League. The Mastodons toppled down a slightly favored Jacks team in the first round of the Summit League tournament last season, and annihilated the Jacks in Fort Wayne, Ind. two seasons ago in similar fashion before finding thermselves with the 35-point blowout Saturday.

The win, the highest margin of victory for the Jacks ever in Summit League play, came as a slight surprise to Nagy, who described anguish while watching tape of IPFW because of a skepticism in his team’s defensive effort. Against Oakland two nights earlier, Nagy called for a 3-2 zone defense midway through the first half, something SDSU had never so much as practiced, only to see instant improvement.

“The kids responded and played defense like I think we can,” said, who pointed out a more noticeably vocal Moss and Sargent in pregame as a sign his players understood the importance of a win. “Jordan (Dykstra) was as good as I’ve seen him, he didn’t let (Trey) McCorkle touch the ball.”

SDSU’s defensive markings look unusual in context with season statistics, but the win marks SDSU’s 13th victory, and the first win for Nagy and his coaching staff when barefoot, a third annual effort to raise charity.

Does a win make the feet feel better? “Yeah,” Nagy said with a grin, “It’s because I can’t stomp them.”

#1.1918869:203676832.png:mbb-ipfw-BRUA-001.png:Dale Moss skies for the basket in the second half of SDSU?s 87-52 victory over IPFW on Jan 22.:Collegian Photo by Stephen Brua#1.1918870:3187867824.png:mbb-ipfw-BRUA-006.png:Scott Nagy shares a smile with the rest of his coaching staff during the Jacks? victory on Saturday. The men?s coaching staff went barefoot during the game to raise awareness for Samaritan?s Feet, a charity that raises money for shoes to kids in Haiti.:Collegian Photo by Stephen Brua