Jacks remain winless on road in Summit play

Travis Kriens

Travis Kriens

For the second season in a row, the SDSU men’s basketball team finished the Summit League conference schedule without a win on the road.

A 77-67 defeat at the hands of eighth-place Centenary (8-22, 6-12) on Feb. 28 in Shreveport, La., assured the Jacks a 0-9 conference road record and the seventh seed in the upcoming Summit League tournament next week in Sioux Falls.

Centenary captured the final spot in the tournament due to IUPUI defeating Western Illinois on Feb. 28.

With the Jacks (12-19, 7-11) leading 50-46 with just under 11 minutes left in the game, the Gents went on a 19-0 run over then next four minutes, 38 seconds to put a way any doubt of the game’s outcome.

“We just turned the ball over quite a bit and offensive rebounds for them,” said head coach Scott Nagy on the reason for the big run in the second half. “They had guys six feet tall going in and getting the ball. The difference is that they just outhustled us. I guess I could sugarcoat it, but that’s the answer. In every situation, whether it was a loose ball or offensive rebound or defensive rebound, they needed it more than we needed it.”

SDSU did close the gap by going on a 12-1 run to make it a 66-62 deficit around the two-minute mark until Centenary increased their lead with late free throws.

With the Jacks already clinching a spot in the Summit League tournament two nights before and Centenary on the bubble, Nagy said that the Gents desperation was a big reason in the loss.

“We didn’t deserve to win it. They played harder than we did. We talked about before the game just how desperation would play a factor, and it did tonight. They were more desperate than we were.”

After missing the last five games with an ankle injury, sophomore guard Clint Sargent returned off the bench to lead the team with 20 points.

“I think what it shows is being able to take four, five games off, shake off some of the junk and negative feeling, and I think that helps,” Nagy said. “It would be nice if all of our guys could do that. That’s what they need more than anything. Clint was able to sit for a while and get rid of the negative vibe, particularly on the road. He was able to play well and give us some good minutes.”

SDSU leading scorer Garrett Callahan followed his season-low three-point performance at Oral Roberts, with seven points at Centenary. Nagy said that this has become the norm for Callahan at the end of the season, but it is not necessarily Garrett’s fault.

“Unfortunately, this is the pattern for Garrett that he gets run down at the end of the season. If you look back at the last three years, he has not played well late in any of those seasons because, physically, he just gets run down. We have to play him so many minutes, and it might be more my fault than it is his.”

Forward Anthony Cordova added 13 points while Michael Palarca tied his career high with 10 points for the second straight game. Kai Williams had a team-high eight rebounds.

The Jacks held a 26-19 advantage on rebounds at halftime, during which they only trailed 36-33. SDSU ended up giving up their rebounding edge by only winning the battle of the boards by one, 41 to 40.

“Rebounding has been one of the stats late in games on the road that when we need to get rebounds, we haven’t been able to get them,” said Nagy. “It has been a consistent problem for us.”