MBB: SDSU tops Omaha, head to semifinal

Evan Patzwald, Sports Reporter

After being upset in the first round of the Summit League Tournament two years in a row, No. 1 South Dakota State (16-6, 9-3) flipped the script and beat No. 8 Omaha (5-20, 3-11) 84-71.

The Jackrabbits were led by senior Douglas Wilson who had 25 points and a career-high seven assists in the win Saturday night. Matt Dentlinger continued his strong second half of the season as well with 14 points off of 4-of-5 shooting from the floor.

“We feel like we have some playmakers down there,” SDSU coach Eric Henderson said after the game. “Doug was terrific he had 25 points, but more importantly he had seven assists as well. He’s a willing passer and it was certainly our goal to get it inside.”

“I feel like the past six or seven games, our group has become very connected,” Henderson added. “We have an identity and still make some mistakes, but they’re playing for each other and that’s really what’s important for us.”

This was Wilson’s first chance at playing in the tournament as he was sidelined at the end of last season due to injury.

“I was thinking about it a lot this week,” Wilson said of getting to play in the tournament. “Just missing last year and I was really grateful I could be there to help my team this time.”

The two teams went back and forth throughout the first half until SDSU closed the half on a 7-0 run to take a 40-33 lead going into the half. Baylor Scheierman was motivated to get out of the quarterfinal after losing in last year’s game.

“I think we definitely knew how it felt to get bounced in the first round last year and it wasn’t a great feeling,” Scheierman said. “So, it definitely added extra motivation this year.”

Scheierman recorded his 13th double-double of the season as he finished the game with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Scheierman and Omaha’s Ayo Akinwole were hitting shots left and right in the second half. Akinwole tried to put his team back in the game in the second half as he had six 3-pointers in the final twenty minutes. Scheierman thought it helped having not seen Omaha yet in the regular season.

“It’s hard to beat a team three times in a year,” Scheierman said. “Because we know what they’re gonna do and they know what we’re gonna do.”

The Jackrabbits are back in action at the Sanford Pentagon for the semifinals Monday night at 5:45 p.m. They will face the winner of No. 4 Oral Roberts/No. 5 North Dakota.