Comeback Kids: Jacks Rally Past Oral Roberts, 73-70

The SDSU men’s basketball team trailed by as much as 13 in the second half. They would use a 10-0 run in the final two minutes to defeat Oral Roberts 73-70 in the quarterfinals of the Summit League Tournament at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls.

“Proud of our kids for the way they played because, let’s face it, a lot of that game it did not look very good,” SDSU head coach Scott Nagy said. “I just feel really bad for Oral Roberts cause they played great.”

The Jacks got off to a rocky start and fell behind 23-8 early in the first half and would go into the locker room trailing 38-30.

Halfway through the second half, ORU’s lead would grow to 58-45. The Jacks would then cut the lead to 58-51 after back-to-back and-ones by Ian Thiesen and Mike Daum.

This would begin a trend for the Jacks as they got to the free throw line 25 times in the second half, making 19 of them.  SDSU would then cut the lead to 64-61, but Oral Roberts would respond and had a 70-63 with two minutes remaining. Jake Bittle hit a pair of free throws and George Marshall knocked down a triple to cut the lead to 70-68 with 1:24 left in the game.

The Jacks would then get a stop on the other end and George Marshall would take it all the way and got fouled. He made the first, missed the second but Daum grabbed the biggest board of the SDSU season and got fouled. Daum knocked down both free throws to give SDSU a 71-70 lead with 42 seconds left.

This was their first lead since 2-0 17 seconds into the game. Oral Roberts would then have three chances to either tie or win the game, but the Jacks stepped up and forced three straight misses.

“We did a good job of rebounding and the guards did a good job of getting the ball down low and then it was just a matter of making free throws., Daum said.

Daum did just that making nine of ten from the line and scoring 21 in the second half. He would finish with a career-high 26 points and eight boards. It was also a night where he would break SDSU’s freshman scoring record.

“Mike’s a good rebounder,” Nagy said. “There were a couple of times that I thought he could’ve stopped some lay up’s, but what am I going to be mad that he had 26 points and eight rebounds. No, he’s a tremendous player.”

George Marshall finished with only seven points but it was visible to the record-setting crowd that he did not want this to be the way his career ended as a Jackrabbit.

“It was obviously going through my mind but I just wanted to keep my composure,” Marshall said.  

The game was played in front of a crowd of 10,306 at the Premier Center and they were almost all Jackrabbit fans. This played a huge factor down the stretch.

“They definitely helped, it’s an amazing atmosphere here,” sophomore Reed Tellinghuisen said. “We have a great fan base and there always there to support us. 

The Jacks were lucky to come out of this one with a win and Coach Nagy knows it. 

“There have been very few games where I have felt like we had our tails handed to us and won, but that’s exactly what happened tonight,” Nagy said. “I’m happy we won but there’s a big part of me that’s not happy about how physically we got beat up but I’m very proud that are kids didn’t give up.”

The Jacks will take on the winner of Omaha and Denver on Monday at 8:30 at the Premier Center.