Strong first half propels Jacks to sixth straight win

Evan Patzwald, Assistant Sports Editor

The SDSU men’s basketball team (15-4, 6-0) got off to a blazing start in the first frame of the game, taking a 20-point lead midway through the half en route to an 80-62 over Denver (6-14, 2-5).

The Jacks are now 6-0 in Summit League play, and it is the first time in team history that they have started conference play 6-0.

Alex Arians had himself a day as he finished with a career-high 19 points, shooting 6-of-12 from the field. He started off the game making four straight three-pointers.

“It’s obviously a reward for our team,” Arians said of the team’s record conference start. “We know with that start it’s all about us and I think that’s why SDSU’s been so successful in the recent years. I think if we continue to do what we’re doing moving forwards, we’ll be in a really good spot at the end of the year.”

The home team held a 21-point lead at the end of the first half and their defense held Denver to 23 points in the first 20 minutes. The Pioneers were held to a 28.1% field goal percentage in the first half as well.

Five players scored in double figures, including Arians, Baylor Scheierman, Douglas Wilson, Luke Appel and Matt Mims.

Scheierman recorded his 21st double-double of the season, notching 11 points and 11 boards and is now second all-time in double-doubles in team history, sitting behind Mike Daum with 54.

“He’s been terrific in every aspect of the game,” Charlie Easley said of his teammate Scheierman. “He affects so many areas, he facilitates the whole offense and he makes plays on defense too. He’s a great player to have on the team.”

Meanwhile, for Denver, they found their footing in the second half, nearly doubling their point total from the previous half. KJ Hunt led the Pioneers in scoring with 18 points and added five assists and five rebounds.

The Jackrabbits held off the Pioneers’ comeback attempt as they never got back within ten points, winning the game by an 18-point margin.

Now SDSU prepares to hit the road as they travel to Minnesota to play Summit League newcomer St. Thomas Thursday at 7 p.m. They’ve got a quick turnaround as they’ve got to go to Macomb, Ill. to play the Leathernecks of Western Illinois, who are coming off a win over NDSU and off to their best start since the 2012-13 season.