SDSU beats USD for second time this season, looks ahead to final road games


Joclyn Haven

Guard Zeke Mayo backs down on A.J. Plitzuweit Saturday in the Jacks’ 72-67 win over the Coyotes at Frost Arena. Mayo had 19 points in the win.

Evan Patzwald, Co-Sports Editor (He/Him)

A step-back 3-pointer from Zeke Mayo with 15 seconds left in the game would end up propelling the Jacks to a five-point win over South Dakota Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd at Frost Arena. 

The SDSU men’s basketball team (15-11, 10-4 Summit League) beat the Coyotes (11-15, 6-8) 72-67 Saturday and currently sit in second place in the conference standings with four games remaining in the regular season before the Summit League Tournament. 

There were 4,421 fans in attendance to watch the Jacks pick up their sixth-straight win over USD and 20th out of the last 26 matchups. 

“The atmosphere in Frost Arena was as special as I’ve been in and the support we get is incredible,” coach Eric Henderson said. “To be able to come away with a victory when our offense wasn’t at the top of its game was enjoyable.”

SDSU struggled from 3-point range in the game, going 7-of-26, at 26.9%, compared to the Coyotes shooting 10-of-22. 

Mayo finished with 19 points on a poor shooting night, going 8-for-21 and 3-for-12 on 3-pointers in 38 minutes. He had the go-ahead layup to take the lead a 68-67 lead and his 3-pointer to seal the victory. 

“They threw multiple things at him and did a good job,” Henderson said of the Coyotes’ defense. “Them switching kept Zeke in front of them and made him shoot the majority of those shots as jump shots and challenged him.”

The Jacks finished the game on an 8-0 run after trailing 67-64 with three minutes remaining. Mayo led the team with four assists. 

“I was just trying to find open teammates, making simple plays, not trying to really force anything,” Mayo said. “I forced a couple plays today but guys like Will (Kyle III) and Matt (Dentlinger) finished strong at the rim today.”

Dentlinger led the team in scoring with 20 points and three rebounds. He shot 6-for-8 from the floor and 8-for-10 at the free throw line. Alex Arians had 13 points and Matt Mims contributed nine points. 

A.J. Plitzuweit had 18 points to pace South Dakota, with Kruz Perrott-Hunt having 15 and Tasos Kamateros putting up 13 points. 

Now, the Jacks turn their attention to their final two road games of the season at Denver Thursday at 8 p.m. and at Omaha Saturday at 7 p.m. SDSU has its final home games Feb. 23 against Kansas City and Feb. 25 for Senior Night against league-leading Oral Roberts. 

Denver and Omaha are currently ninth and tenth respectively in the Summit League standings. The Pioneers have lost their last three games, losing to St. Thomas at home and then UND and NDSU on the road. For the Mavericks, they’ve lost nine straight games after starting conference play 3-3. 

The Summit League Tournament takes place March 3-7 at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls. All 10 teams qualify for the tournament for the first time this season with the top six teams getting a first-round bye. 

“We know when we get down to Sioux Falls, that’s when teams are going to have the most success,” Henderson said. “We’ve got great coaches and players in our league; teams are well prepared and to be able to get your team to play free and confident is really important.”