Jacks beat St. Thomas, finish home season unbeaten


Joclyn Haven

Jacks forward Douglas Wilson goes for a dunk in a game against Omaha last week. SDSU’s only senior scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds Saturday in his final game at Frost Arena, a 79-60 win over St. Thomas.

Hunter Smidt, Sports Reporter

The South Dakota State men’s basketball team ends its home season on a high note, beating Summit League newcomers St. Thomas 79-60 Saturday at Frost Arena.

In their final home game of the season in front of 3,122 fans, the Jackrabbits improved to 25-4 overall, including 14-0 at home and they extended their overall winning streak to 16 games, the longest active streak in Division I. In the team’s 40-year existence, this is their best record ever in conference play at 16-0.

After already clinching the regular-season conference title on Thursday, SDSU came out flat early. As a result, the Tommies (8-19, 2-13) jumped all over the Jacks at the start of the game, leading 20-10 at the 13:30 mark left in the first half.

After trailing early, the nation’s number one offense never looked back. They started knocking down the long ball to open up their offense by hitting on 6-11 three-pointers in the first half. This helped the Jacks take a 39-30 lead going into the half.

“We knew not to just take them lightly, and they came out and really kind of punched us in the face,” Jacks guard Baylor Scheierman said. “They were up 10 there early and we really had to just settle in. But I thought once we did, I think we got like 12 stops in a row at one point, so we really settled in.”

SDSU opened the second half just how they closed the first half, going on a 15-2 scoring run Throughout the half, the Jackrabbits showed they can score in a variety of ways by hitting three-pointers and getting into the paint, and finishing at the rim.

Ever since that 15-2 run, the Jackrabbits would go on to dominate throughout the whole second half on both ends of the floor. They at one point led by 27 points midway through the second half before eventually closing out the 19-point win.

Like they’ve done all season, the Jackrabbits got production from multiple players. Baylor Scheierman turned in his 24th career double-double, scoring 23 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. He also finished with a game-high seven assists.

And in what would be Douglas Wilson’s last game at Frost Arena, the team’s only senior would again impress on senior night. Before the game, the Des Moines native was honored on the court, and his young son, Douglas Jr. joined him for pre-game introductions. Wilson would finish with 16 points and eight rebounds, including shooting 8-10 from the free-throw line.

“It felt really good,” Wilson said. “It’s just a surreal moment. I never would’ve imagined it would’ve been like that.”

In all, four Jackrabbits finished in double figures, with Charlie Easley scoring 16 points and Matt Detlinger chipping in 10.

And SDSU also had a pretty efficient night, shooting 54.9 percent from the field and 42.1 percent from three.

But unlike the Jackrabbits, St. Thomas didn’t get that same level of production. Their main scoring threat was Riley Miller, who proved to be a headache for the Jackrabbits all night. He finished with 27 points and hit 8 three-pointers. Despite Miller’s performance, no other Tommies scored in double figures.

As a team, the Tommies took 45 of their 68 shots from behind the arc, hitting 14 of them, and they shot only 30.9 percent from the field.

“We can’t say enough to our fans and our supporters, how much we appreciate them and how they make this really a special place to play,” coach Eric Henderson said. “We don’t take for granted, we appreciate every time that we get to come out here in Frost and play our tales off and play selfless.”

Up next is SDSU’s final two games of the regular season as they prepare for the Summit League tournament. They’ll travel to Tulsa to play against second-place Oral Roberts Thursday before their regular-season finale in Kansas City Saturday.