Another missed opportunity for Jacks

Travis Kriens

Travis Kriens

It happened again. For the third straight game the Jacks men’s basketball team had a chance to win the game in the final seconds and failed. The Jacks lost to North Dakota State 87-77 in overtime on Jan. 23.

Having held their largest lead of the game, the Jacks squandered a five-point lead in the final minute to Summit League front-runner NDSU (14-5, 8-1 Summit) even though the Bison failed to hit a field goal in the final minute and had only one in the final five minutes.

“It just came down to them making plays and us not making plays,” said junior Garrett Callahan who led SDSU with 22 points. “That’s all you can say.”

The Jacks (8-13, 3-6 Summit League) had the ball with 10 seconds left and the game tied at 71. With four seconds remaining, Callahan put up a 3-pointer from well beyond the arch that fell short.

“The late-game situations have cost us the past few games, and they did in this one, too,” said head coach Scott Nagy. “These are not the steps we would like to be taking, but they are still steps in the right direction.”

The Bison started the overtime period on an 11-0 run to put the game away. But Nagy said that he felt the game was over even before overtime started.

“The only thing that I am discouraged with is when the game went into overtime, just looking at our players on the bench, I felt like they let the recent past of last week affect them. You can either roll up in a ball on the couch and cave in or keep fighting, and I am not going to let those guys give up. This is painful, but they will get through it.”

Summit League Preseason Player of the Year Ben Woodside led all players with 30 points, while fellow NDSU senior Ben Winkelman added 29. Earlier this season, Woodside hit 30 free throws, tying the NCAA single-game record set by LSU’s Pete Maravich in December 1969 against Oregon State, en route to a 60-point game in a triple overtime loss to Stephen F. Austin.

“You just have to try and get the ball out of (Woodside’s) hands, and that’s tough to do since he’s the point guard,” said Callahan.

“Down the stretch the plan was to get the ball to Woodside and get the heck out of the way,” said NDSU Saul Phillips. “The experience that we have made a ton of difference late in the game.”

The combination of Woodside and Winkelman dominated the second half and overtime, as they scored 41 of the NDSU’s 50 points after the first half.

“It was a struggle for the first 40 minutes for us, and we didn’t play that well,” said Woodside. “We picked it up a little bit in overtime, and we were lucky to come away with a win. You have to give SDSU a lot of credit. They came out and knocked down a bunch of shots and were hard to contain.”

Anthony Cordova hit his first six shots from the field for SDSU and finished the game 10-of-12 with a career-high 21 points with eight rebounds.

“I felt like I was looking right into the basket on every shot, and I just knew they were going to go in,” said Cordova. “NDSU has the most experience out of any team in the country. They have one of the best players that I have seen in a long time in Woodside, and those guys weren’t going to just quit and give us the game like that. Our lack of experience played a big role in us not getting the job done late in the game.”

The Jacks return to the court on Jan. 29 as they host Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne, followed by playing Oakland in the second half of a Pork Classic doubleheader on Jan. 31.