SDSU comes out on top in double-overtime thriller

Landon Dierks, Sports Editor

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — It took two overtimes to decide a winner, but South Dakota State edged Califonia State, Bakersfield, 93-91 Saturday night at the Icardo Center.

And what a wild final few moments they were.

“I wouldn’t say it was always pretty but gutty is certainly the right word,” said SDSU coach Eric Henderson in a postgame radio interview.

CSUB took a 70-65 lead with two minutes remaining in regulation and looked poised to come away with a win in front of its home crowd.

The Jackrabbits had other ideas.

Senior guard Brandon Key knocked down a pair of free throws with 1:17 to bring SDSU within one possession, and that’s when an unlikely hero emerged.

Freshman guard Baylor Scheierman knocked down a game-tying 3-pointer with 44 seconds left to tie the game at 70. From there, the game would go to overtime.

Scheierman would step up again in the first overtime period, connecting on two more 3-point attempts. However, SDSU big man Matt Dentlinger fouled out just seconds into overtime. Fellow forward Doug Wilson also fouled out later in the frame, allowing the Roadrunners to keep pace. 

“We’re a pretty tight-knit group, so it’s always the next man up mentality,” Scheierman said. “So when most of our big guys went down they looked to me to try and guard the big guy (CSUB’s 6-foot-8, 265-pound forward Shawn Stith) and I stepped up to the challenge.”

CSUB knotted the game at 81 with less than 30 seconds on the clock and sent the game to a second overtime.

That’s when Scheierman got help from his fellow freshmen.

Scheierman hit on his fourth three of the game, which was followed by a 3 from Noah Freidel to put the Jacks up four. Later in the second overtime, Freidel sank two free throws to give SDSU a 91-86 lead with a minute to play.

A quick 5-0 Roadrunner burst tied the game with 10 seconds to play, but the ball once again found a freshman. David Wingett scored on a layup and was fouled with four seconds left.

“All three of those freshmen were really remarkable,” Henderson said.

Though Wingett would miss the foul shot, CSUB could only get off a half-court heave at the buzzer, which fell well short of the mark.

“It was going to be a physical battle, we knew that,” Scheierman said. “That’s why you come play Division I college basketball — for games like these.”

All told the trio of Scheierman, Freidel and Wingett combined for 38 points — including 21 of 26 Jackrabbit points across the final minute of regulation plus overtime. Scheierman scored 12 of those 21, all on 3-pointers.

“I have confidence in my game,” Scheierman said. “I’ve put in a lot of time, so when the opportunity arises I’m not going to back down from it.”

Joining the trio of freshmen in double figures for the Jacks were Key (18) and Wilson, who tied Roadrunner big man Shawn Stith with a game-high 26 points. Taze Moore added 22 for CSUB.

While it may seem the high-intensity action was reserved for the game’s closing moments, that’s far from the case. Neither team led by more than six at any point in the 50 minutes of play.

This came despite CSUB (1-1) taking 21 more field goal attempts than SDSU (3-0).

The win meant SDSU came away with a win in the Summit League-Western Athletic Conference Challenge for the second straight year. The Jacks defeated Grand Canyon University 79-74 in the 2018-19 season opener.

SDSU’s West Coast road trip isn’t finished just yet. The team takes on USC Tuesday night in Los Angeles and will look to a similar recipe to knock off the Trojans.

“How we’re going to be successful is we’re going to be gritty, tough and compete like crazy,” Henderson said. “Even if we’re outmatched, that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. There’s a lot of fight in our dudes.”