Mastodons stop Jacks

Travis Kriens

Travis Kriens

You would expect nothing less from two teams as evenly matched as SDSU and IPFW as the Mastodons put an end to SDSU’s 2009-10 men’s basketball season with a 71-66 win March 7 in the first round of the Summit League tournament at the Sioux Falls Arena.

With the game tied at 28 at half, the Jacks went on a run to take their largest lead of the game, seven, in the first six minutes of the second half.

IPFW (16-15) battled back on the shoulders of guard Jeremy Mixon who scored 17 of his team high 19 points in the second half.

In the final minute, with the game tied for the eighth time, IPFW would score the final five points to put the game away and move on to the second round where they lost to tournament champion Oakland 71-58.

SDSU (14-16) had two chances in the final 20 seconds to take the lead or tie the game, but a pair of Garrett Callahan threes fell short. The senior from Seneca, Ill., led all players with 20 points and ended his career sixth in points and 10th all-time in assists with 245.

“We thought that this would be the toughest game that we played,” said SDSU head coach Scott Nagy. “They’re a very physical team; it was a physical game.”

Each team split their last six meetings against each other, with the home team winning each time, including two games this season that were not decided until the final minute.

“Our players gave everything they had, there’s no question about that,” Nagy said. “I’m super pleased with their effort. (IPFW) just made a couple of plays at the end and we didn’t. That’s basically what it came down to. It wasn’t for lack of effort on our guy’s part. I thought we did a great job executing.”

IPFW iced the game by hitting on 15-of-16 free throws in the second half before missing a pair in the final seconds.

“Honestly the way we shot free throws, I guess words can’t describe how excited I am for these guys because of what we were up against,” said IPFW head coach Dane Fife. “South Dakota State is a very good basketball team coupled with their crowd. It was just a gutsy performance down the stretch.”

In the final game of his career, Kai Williams put up 17 points and eight rebounds. He ends his Jackrabbit career ranked seventh all-time in scoring and second all-time with 843 rebounds.

“I’m very thankful and glad that I was able to get this opportunity to play here,” said Williams. “Obviously it’s not the best way to go out, but I’m thankful for the opportunity. It was a great game, great atmosphere. Overall I feel very blessed.”