Jacks drop first game of back-to-back against Oral Roberts


Photo from gojacks.com

Evan Patzwald, Sports Reporter

For the second weekend in a row, South Dakota State lost on night one of back-to-back games. Oral Roberts (11-8, 8-3) dominated SDSU (11-5, 5-2) in the second half en route to a 103-86 win.

The Jackrabbits put up enough points to win and shot well enough, but the shooting from Max Abmas is what kept SDSU out of the game in the second half. The sophomore standout scored a career-high 42 points, shooting 14-20 overall on the day. 

“He’s a dynamic guard, I knew he could really make things challenging for us,” coach Eric Henderson said postgame of Abmas. “He had it cooking tonight, and we have to make sure he scores more in the paint and get ready to try again tomorrow.”

ORU ranked first in the Summit League in scoring at 79.9 points per game. The Golden Eagles put up a season-high 103 points while shooting 54% from the field.

“Offense wasn’t our problem; it was staying engaged defensively,” Henderson said of his team’s performance. “They beat us up on the glass in the second and [we] need to stay more disciplined to make every shot challenged. We’ve been so connected on the offensive end and defensively, we need to have the same connectivity and have each other’s back.”

SDSU had as big as a 12-point lead in the first half of play and led by four going into the locker room. The Golden Eagles would then outscore the Jacks 56-35 in the final 20 minutes of the game. A 10-3 run from the home team in the first few minutes is what really got them going.

“We turned it over, they scored a bunch in transition,” Henderson said. “They had some guys make some threes that don’t normally make a bunch. If they’re making shots from all over, it challenges you with the high-ball screen. They had us on our heels from the jump.”

Leading the Summit League in rebounding was Kevin Obanor of ORU, who only added to that total with 11 rebounds while chipping in 18 points.

Noah Freidel has had a rough stretch of games shooting the ball the last few weeks, and that continued. The guard finished the game with two points and did not make a field goal in the game on 0-7 field goals. He checked out of the game with 17:04 left in the second half, and Henderson did not play him the rest of the contest, even when the team pulled within five points with seven minutes left to go.

“It’s a long year and consistency is a huge thing to get Noah going,” Henderson said about Friedel. “He needs routine, and in a year like this it’s really challenging, but hopefully he’ll bounce back.”

Freidel is shooting 11-47 from the floor over his last four games, and only averaging 8.8 points per game over that span. The team is going to need him to step up over their final stretch of games if they want to make a run at getting a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Baylor Scheierman put up another double-double scoring 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Matt Dentlinger is showing flashes from last season, putting up 16 points in another strong performance.

“We’re in the same situation we were last weekend,” Henderson said after the loss. “I thought our energy was better on the second night, but we have to be ready from the start. We’ll get back to the drawing board and get ready to rock and roll tomorrow.”