Jacks stand tall within league


Now back in first place of the Summit League, the South Dakota State men’s basketball team looks to keep its five-game winning streak alive.

Coming off an 80-52 victory over Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis Saturday, there’s one aspect that the Jacks hope to improve on moving forward: free throw shooting. SDSU went just 12-of-24 from the charity stripe Friday. Head Coach Scott Nagy was less than pleased with that number.

“I’m not happy about it,” Nagy said of the free throw shooting woes. “There is only so much you can do before I snap.”

Despite the Jacks’ poor free throw shooting this year – 70.1 percent, fifth in the Summit League – SDSU owns one of the league’s best defense, which came through in Saturday’s game, holding the Jaguars to just 35 percent shooting overall while coming up with five blocks and six steals.

“It was a good defensive effort by us, too, so I would say it was a good game all around,” redshirt freshman Mike Daum said.

That defense will be tested Wednesday, Feb. 10 with a rematch against the conference’s highest-scoring team, the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks.

Omaha is averaging 80.4 points per game in all games and 82.1 in league games. Meanwhile, the Jacks rank third in the conference in points allowed, surrendering just 67.5 points per contest.

After that, though, is a rematch with the University of South Dakota, a team that has failed to register a victory inside Frost Arena in the past eight meetings.

In their previous meeting at the DakotaDome, the Jacks used a late first half surge and solid defense in the second half to come away with a 79-75 victory against the rival Coyotes.

Since that first meeting, both teams have taken different routes. USD has lost three of their last four games. The Coyotes are also dealing with some roster changeover.

Shy McClelland tweeted on Tuesday he will no longer be with the team. McClelland is third on the team in scoring and rebounding, second in assists and first in steals. He contributed five points and five rebounds in the first meeting with SDSU.

McClelland figured to play a role in slowing down the Jacks’ backcourt duo of Marshall and Parks who have been on a tear as of late. Marshall is averaging 17 points and five rebounds during the five-game winning streak while Parks averages over 16 points per game at home this season.

Daum and senior wing Jake Bittle led the way for the Jacks in the first meeting with the Coyotes. Daum posted 25 points and 11 rebounds while Bittle added 21 points and seven rebounds in the win.

SDSU has won each of the last eight meetings against USD at Frost Arena. Nagy is 11-2 in his career at home against the Coyotes.   

The Jacks are one half game up on Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne for the Summit League lead entering play this week. Winning both games would ensure they remain in first before their date with the Mastodons next week in Fort Wayne.