Jackrabbits earn first Summit win

Travis Kriens

Travis Kriens

Having had a tough time closing out games all season long, SDSU came out on the winning end for the first time in a close conference game on Jan. 19. The Jacks defeated the Southern Utah Thunderbirds 66-62 in the first ever meeting between the two schools.

Even though SDSU (7-12, 2-6) was in control throughout most of the game, the Thunderbirds (4-14, 2-5) cut an eight point deficit in the final two minutes down to three with a chance to send the game into overtime in the final seconds.

The Jackrabbit’s leading scorer, sophomore forward Kai Williams, only had 11 points, but his points came in a timely matter. Williams made three crucial foul shots late that ended up clinching the game as well as two dunks that ignited the season-high Frost Arena crowd of 3,733.

Two nights prior, after losing to UMKC, head coach Scott Nagy said, “We were out hustled on every play and completely dominated physically.”

Against Southern Utah, you could see the affect of Nagy’s words take place on the court as the Jacks were diving for more loose balls and playing with more emotion than has been seen in previous games.

Freshman forward Anthony Cordova said that he felt “hurt” after the UMKC game because the team works hard in practice every day, and that it is tough to close games at the end when they know they have a chance to win.

The Jacks almost let another win slip away. The difference was exactly what sophomore guard Garrett Callahan said: that what the team needed to do was “a matter of executing and finishing at the end of the game.”

Freshman guard Clint Sargent had his finest night on the hardwood as a Jackrabbit, scoring a career-high 18 points on seven of 14 shooting and a career-high seven rebounds.

The young and inexperienced Jackrabbits have a 3-9 record this season in games decided by single digits.

Southern Utah’s leading scorer, forward Geoff Payne, was the game’s top scorer at 21 points, right on with his season average.

The Jacks next three games will be on the road starting with a trip on Jan. 25 to Fargo to play the North Dakota State Bison (10-9, 4-4) at 7 p.m. SDSU is 6-6 all-time at Fargo under Coach Nagy. The Jacks will be back at Frost Arena on Feb. 7 against IUPUI.