Wilson, Dentlinger lead Jacks over FGCU

Victoria Berndt, Sports Reporter

Using a strong first-half run, South Dakota State downed Florida Gulf Coast 75-56 Wednesday night at Frost Arena.

The Eagles (2-11) opened the game’s scoring with a 3-pointer but weren’t able to muster anything else early on, as the Jackrabbits (8-6) capitalized to go on a 22-0 run in the first eight minutes. 

Being locked in and knowing that people will score but getting back to the game plan was important for the Jacks’ run at the start of the game, according to junior forward Douglas Wilson.

Holding a near 20-point cushion throughout most of the contest wasn’t the only positive for SDSU against the Eagles. 

Freshman David Wingett impressed in his first collegiate game as a Jackrabbit, recording 12 points, three rebounds and a steal in the first half.

“Wingett took advantage of his opportunity,” said SDSU coach Eric Henderson.  “It was nice to see him come in and bang four 3s, but I also thought he was equally as good on the defensive side of the ball.”

Wingett started in place of fellow freshman Noah Freidel, who sat out the first half due to internal disciplinary action, according to Henderson.

The second half wasn’t as glamorous as the first for the Jacks. They came out flat and lacked fast pace, allowing the Eagles to play the final 20 minutes to a near draw.

“We came out a little sloppy but our defense pulled through the whole game so that helped us,” said sophomore forward Matt Dentlinger.

Although the second half wasn’t perfect the Jacks played to their strengths. 

The Jacks took advantage of their skills in the paint, often looking to Wilson and Dentlinger to initiate the offense. Wilson finished with 20 points on 8-for-9 shooting from the field and Dentlinger followed with 15 points.

“One good thing about this team is we are all great players,” Dentlinger said. “We play great together, we love playing with each other and it doesn’t matter who is in the game, we are going to play together and play hard.”

Assists were huge for the Jacks, who assisted on 17 of their 27 made field goals. Senior Brandon Key led the way individually with seven assists. 

There’s still one more nonconference game for the Jacks before a brief holiday break. SDSU hosts Idaho at noon Saturday, Dec. 21 in Frost Arena.