Jacks fall in final nonconference game

Trenton Abrego, Sports Editor

Consider the longest home game winning streak in the NCAA dead.

South Dakota State fell 85-74 to the Montana Grizzlies in front of 2,540 fans to wrap up the nonconference portion of its schedule.  

The game was there for the taking, but down the stretch, the Jackrabbits were unable to capitalize on the Frost Arena energy and free throws. Senior guard Tevin King missed six of his seven attempts at the charity stripe in the last eight minutes of the game.

Despite the struggles at the line for King, Mike Daum connected on 13 of his 16 attempts. As a team, the Jackrabbits shot 66 percent at the line.

While they weren’t able to execute down the stretch, there were chances earlier in the second half.  

There were other glimpses of a comeback opportunity for the Jacks, including a clutch 3-pointers from Skyler Flatten with 9:40 to play that cut the deficit to seven. But those attempts would be sniffed out by a hot shooting Montana team.

With just under six minutes to play, the Jackrabbits trailed by just four points but were unable to fend off an 11-5 run by the Grizzlies in just over three minutes in the second half.

“We jumped up and made big shots … we made shots when it mattered,” Montana head coach Travis DeCuire said.

Despite the glimpses of a potential comeback, the game was thoroughly controlled by the Grizzlies, who led for more than 31 minutes.

On the boards, the Grizzlies grabbed ten more rebounds than the jacks, (22-11) but in the second half, the Jackrabbits managed to close that gap to a plus-three advantage.

“That was the vast majority of the halftime conversation involved the rebounding situation,” Otzelberger said. “[We] certainly know that Montana does well, I thought they did a good job, but we also helped them in that endeavor in the first half, it all played into them being the more aggressive team.”

It wasn’t just the rebounds that the Jackrabbits were overpowered in.

Montana also made more 3-pointers, had a higher 3-point percentage, more steals and fewer turnovers. 33 of the 85 Montana points came from behind the arc.

Off the bench, the Jackrabbits had two points compared to Montana’s 18 from reserves.

Outside of the four veterans; David Jenkins, Jr., Daum, Flatten and King, the Jackrabbits didn’t get many contributors. The lone scorer for the Jackrabbits was Owen King.

For the Jackrabbits, Daum once again led the way with another double-double, scoring 33 points and leading the team with 15 rebounds.

With the loss, the Jackrabbits end the nonconference schedule 10-5, with the other losses coming to Florida Gulf Coast, Tulane Memphis and Nevada.

South Dakota State is heavily favored to win the Summit League and was picked nearly unanimously in the conference preseason poll. South Dakota received the lone top vote that wasn’t for the Jackrabbits.

Up next, the Jackrabbits will enjoy the holidays before turning their focus to the Western Illinois Leathernecks, who they last faced in the Summit League Tournament, where they were victorious with a score of 66-60. Tip for the game is scheduled at 4:30 p.m., Dec. 28, in Macomb, Illinois.