Jacks demolish Oral Roberts on Senior Night

Using a first half surge and hot shooting, the SDSU men’s basketball team sent seniors Zach Horstman and Cody Larson off with a win on Senior Night, topping the Golden Eagles of Oral Roberts 81-52 in Brookings.

“I just thought we were really sharp tonight – a little slow offensively the first three or four minutes, but then we really picked up the pace,” Head Coach Scott Nagy said. “It starts with defense, and the one thing we’ve been doing a pretty good job of lately is rebounding the basketball, and that’s been a big reason for our push.”

Nursing an 8-6 lead with 16 minutes left in the first half, the Jacks went on a tear to be up 27-8 with 11:30 on the clock. That jump was helped by the sharpshooting of George Marshall and Deondre Parks, who combined for 27 first-half points. They finished with 17 and 13, respectively, after a much more quiet second half.  Cody Larson finished with 15 points and six rebounds in his final home game as a Jackrabbit.

At 27-8, it felt like the game was all ready over to many in attendance in the arena. ORU Head Coach Scott Sutton, though impressed by SDSU, felt like his team might have been part of the crowd in that moment.

“They played like a team that’s trying to win a conference championship. We played like a team that seemed like they didn’t care to be here, which is unbelievable to me,” Sutton said.   “This was great atmosphere, with a great crowd against a great team, and this is why you play college basketball, this type of environment. They came out and punched us in the face and we never responded, and as a head coach that’s extremely disappointing.”

ORU was lead by freshman Albert Owen’s game-high 18 points off the bench.

Horstman, a four-year Jack, and Larson, a two-year Jack after transferring from the University of Florida, had the chance to close out their careers in Frost Arena with a win in front of a packed house after the women’s basketball team topped South Dakota earlier in the day.

“It’s awesome. We have the best fans in the Summit,” Horstman said when asked about his thoughts on the Jackrabbits home court. “Not everyone gets people to show up and get support like that at almost every home game.”

With the win, the Jacks secured one of the top two seeds in the Summit League Tournament, scheduled for March 7 to March 10 in Sioux Falls. Though the players said getting a top seed hasn’t been a point of emphasis in practice, coach Nagy acknowledged the value of getting into the tournament as one of the top two.

“If you can play on the first night and win, which won’t be easy for anybody this year, having that night of rest is nice because its hard for anybody to win three nights in a row,” Nagy said.

The Jacks now stand at 21-8 on the season, with a 12-3 conference record and an unblemished home record.