Men win Summit League with win over Western Illinois

Victoria Berndt, Sports Reporter

For the second time in school history, the South Dakota State men’s basketball team are outright Summit League regular season champions.

South Dakota State defeated Western Illinois 86-66 to clinch the Summit League regular season title and to finish their last game in Frost Arena for the 2018-2019 season.

“(I’m) really proud of our team for how they competed today, especially as the game wore on,” said coach T.J. Otzelberger. “I thought our guys were able to lock in at points and times and do the job we needed to come out with a victory.”

Skyler Flatten, who played his last game in Frost Arena, opened the game with a dunk off of a Mike Daum steal. Flatten contributed 31 points, six rebounds and both a steal and an assist.

“It feels really good to have played that well in my last home game, but I couldn’t do it without my teammates,” said Flatten. “They give me open shots all the time and they are so unselfish.”

Flatten wasn’t the only senior who led the Jacks to the victory.

NBA Draft hopeful, Mike Daum ended his prolific career in Frost Arena with 20 points and 10 rebounds for another double-double.

“Every game is super important but at the end of the day it is hard to win, it is just hard to win games period,” Mike Daum said. “No matter what conference you’re in, no matter what game you play, you have to go out and bring it every single night.”

Outside of Flatten and Daum, the Jacks had two other scorers in double-figures.

It was the young guys who contributed in a big way.

Sophomore David Jenkins Jr. had 12 points and connected on two 3-pointers. Redshirt freshman Alex Arians contributed 11 points to the cause on three shot attempts from the floor. Arians got to the line six times and connect on all free throws.

As a team, the Jackrabbits held a plus-12 advantage on the boards and a plus-4 turnover margin.

South Dakota State never trailed in the game.

Up next, South Dakota State will have another date with the Western Illinois Leathernecks at 6 p.m., Saturday, March 9, in the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls.