Orris lifts Jacks to final


Actions at the Summit League Basketball Tournament semifinal game against USD March 6. The Jacks won 74-71.

TRENTON ABREGO Sports Reporter

Michael Orris had the men’s basketball season in his hands, and he delivered.

Orris hit a jump shot with 1.5 seconds remaining to give the South Dakota State Jackrabbits their first lead of the second half as they beat the South Dakota Coyotes 74-71.

In total, the Jackrabbits held the lead for a total of 12 seconds.

It was a different Mike that led the charge though, as the transfer from Northern Illinois had 20 points, five rebounds, and undoubtedly the biggest basket of the night.

“A play broke down and it wasn’t exactly what we drew up and so ball was in my hand and I knew I had to make a play and I made it,” Orris said.

It was a tale of two halves for the Jackrabbits. They only had six points as 12:20 remained in the first half. They trailed as much as 16 at one point, but cut the lead down to 11 before halftime. The Jackrabbits only made good on four 3-point-shots on their 22 attempts.

The crowd at the Denny Sanford Premier Center was nothing short of electric as there was both a sea of red and blue. The session attendance was 11,235, which was about 800 short of a sellout and broke the previous Summit League Tournament record.

For South Dakota State, they have a shot to win an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. First, they need to beat the No. 3 Omaha Mavericks in the Summit League tournament final. Omaha is fresh off their 90-62 blow-out win over the IUPUI Jaguars.

In the season series, the Jackrabbits and Mavericks have split as they both won at the away arenas. It proves to be a high scoring affair, as Omaha allows the most points per game in the Summit League with 88.4.

Offensively, Omaha is led by Marcus Tyus a senior guard, who averages 17.5 points per game. The Mavericks have five players who average 10 points or more per game.  

Despite having the defense that allows the most points per game, the Omaha Mavericks have Tra-Deon Hollins who won Defensive Player of the Year. Hollins can also score the ball well, averaging 13.5 point per game.

Tre’Shawn Thurman is third in the Summit League with rebounds per game, averaging 7.6 rebounds. Thurman also scores the ball well and averages 13.5 points per game.

Zack Jackson shoots the ball extremely well and makes good on 46 percent of his three-point attempts.

On paper, this match up proves to be a high scoring affair as both teams can score the ball in volume.

The Summit League Championship game will start at 8 p.m. and be televised on ESPN2 and WatchESPN.