Jacks overpower Bison in championship


Joclyn Haven

Men’s basketball won the Summit League Championship Tuesday night and are now headed to the NCAA tournament.

Evan Patzwald, Assistant Sports Editor

The South Dakota State Jackrabbits (30-4, 18-0) are headed back to the NCAA Tournament after defeating the North Dakota State Bison (23-10, 13-5) 75-69 in the championship game of the Summit League Tournament. 

The Jacks earned the conference’s automatic bid and will appear in the tournament for the first time since 2018. SDSU’s 30 wins in a season is a program record, and their 21 straight wins is the longest win streak in the country. 

Nobody had ever gone undefeated in Summit League history before, and the Jacks did it in the regular season and the postseason as well. 

“It’s pretty special,” Baylor Scheierman said after the win. “Nobody’s done that in our league before. We just have a special group of guys that are really close to each other. We didn’t take anything for granted, and consistency was a big thing. That’s the recipe that got us here.”

Douglas Wilson was named the Summit League Tournament MVP after the game. He had 21 points in the Jacks’ victory. 

“I never could’ve imagined being a part of a team like this,” Wilson said. “I never thought I would be able to say that I’m going to the NCAA Tournament either. Everything right now is just so surreal.”

Wilson was also named to the All-Summit League Tournament Team along with Scheierman. The others on the team were Rocky Kreuser and Sam Griesel of NDSU and Max Abmas from Oral Roberts. 

Scheierman struggled all night long to score the ball. He had eight points early on, but the rest of the game his shot was not falling until late in the game when he had a step-back 3-pointer that kept SDSU’s lead alive and was crucial to their victory. 

Five total players scored in double figures for SDSU including Scheierman, Wilson, Charlie Easley who had 15, Zeke Mayo with 12 and Alex Arians with 10. 

Mayo had a floater near the end of the game to put the Jacks up three points and two clutch free throws after that to seal the game. 

“We have a lot of confidence in Zeke, and he has a lot of confidence in himself,” Scheierman said. “We trust him to make the right play and down the stretch, that’s what he did.”

Sam Griesel was big for NDSU in the second half, scoring 18 in the half and notching 24 for the game. He hit shot after shot to pull the Bison within a few points and even giving them their first lead of the game in the final minutes. But for every run that they had, the Jacks always had an answer.

“I thought it was just a very physical game,” coach Eric Henderson said. “Both players did a very good job keeping their emotions in check because they want fouls and want to get to the line too.”

Rocky Kreuser could not get it going in the game as he only scored four points, shooting 1-for-9 from the floor. Grant Nelson had 11 points and Jarius Cook had 13. 

The Jacks had been saying all season long that they were eager to get back and get another shot in this tournament after falling short last year. They lost on a buzzer-beating layup to ORU in the semifinal round. ORU would go on to make the NCAA Tournament and make it to the Sweet 16, getting lots of national attention for the Summit League. 

Now it’s SDSU’s turn for that opportunity, and they will wait to hear their name called to see where they will be seeded for the tournament. The March Madness Selection Show will be Sun. Mar. 13 at 5 p.m. on