Jackrabbits hoping to start winning streak


By TRENTON ABREGO Sports Reporter

52 points in the first half fueled the Jackrabbits to their third Summit League victory over the Omaha Mavericks 88-84 Saturday, Jan. 28 in Omaha.

Mike Daum led the first half charge with 22 points of his team’s 52. Daum finished the game with 33 points and 9 rebounds. 

But the Jackrabbits spread the ball around, letting four players finish with double-digit points. Chris Howell scored 16 points, while Reed Tellinghuisen had 13 and Lane Severyn converted on triple three-pointers on his way to 11. 

South Dakota State shot the ball particularly well, shooting 50 percent on field goals and 36 percent behind the three-point line. 

“Our team has done a much better job in conference play at really trying to demand the best shot we can get in every possession and, as a result, our field goal percentage numbers have gone up,” Head Coach T.J. Otzelberger said. 

In defense, the Jackrabbits look to improve. After a loss against Denver, the Jackrabbits got back on course against Omaha. SDSU forced four steals and held a 38-23 rebound advantage. 

“For us, we are starting to form an identity defensively, and it starts by setting the tone in transition defense, guarding the basketball, keeping the ball out of the post and finishing plays on the glass,” Otzelberger said. 

The Jacks will compete on Saturday, Feb. 4 in Lamb Bonanza against the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles. Before facing Oral Roberts, the Jackrabbits will have a two-game home stand, as they face the Western Illinois Leathernecks at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1 in Frost Arena. 

In the latest game against the Leathernecks, the Jackrabbits fell 74-82 and squandered an 11-point lead. 

It was a shooting night the Jackrabbits might like to forget as they shot 41 percent from field goal and 32 percent from three-point range. 

The Jacks were successful in the post scoring the ball with 28 of their 74 in the paint, but the team had zero second-chance points. The Leathernecks also out-rebounded them 39-36.  

For the Jacks to be victorious, they will need to shoot the ball much better. In all three conference victories, the Jackrabbits have shot better than a 47 field goal percentage. 

“We hoped we learned some things, and we have a better shooting night on Wednesday,” Otzelberger said. 

The Jackrabbits still find themselves at the bottom of the Summit League at 3-6 in conference play, tied with both IUPUI and Oral Roberts. If the Jacks can make the most of the two-game home stand and beat both conference foes, they will find themselves in a good position. 

But the Jackrabbits’ first-year head coach isn’t concerning himself with other teams’ game plans. Instead, he is focusing solely on his own team’s plan. 

“At this point in the season everybody has played each other, and it’s more about us than it is about them; and it’s more about us doing what we need to do,” Otzelberger said. 

Both games will be televised on ESPN3 and Jackrabbit Sports Network.