Jackrabbit men fall to Old Dominion

 For the SDSU men’s basketball team and its four seniors, it was not the ending they wanted, but it was the ending they got as they fell in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational to Old Dominion on March 19.

Old Dominion entered the game with a 17-17 overall record, 9-7 in conference, good for sixth in the standings. 

SDSU carried a handicap into the tournament, playing without starters Chad White and Jake Bittle who both battled injuries during the regular season.

The game went in the direction of Old Dominion in the first half as they shot nearly 60 percent from the field and made half of their 14 three-pointers. SDSU shot a respectable 44 percent from the field and made half of their 10 three-pointers, but it wasn’t enough as they trailed by as many as 19 before going into the break behind 48-33.

“A lot was going through our mind [after the first half], mostly that we didn’t want to end our careers on that kind of note,” senior Jordan Dykstra said. “The kind of effort we gave in the first half was pretty disappointing and ultimately that’s what lost us the game.”

Coming out of the locker room was a more focused Jackrabbit team who fought their way back throughout the second half to eventually take a one point lead with under seven minutes to play before the Monarchs rose to the challenge and outlasted SDSU to celebrate a 72-65 victory before a home crowd of 1,487.

“We made some adjustments at halftime,” said head coach Scott Nagy. “They shoot 24 percent in the second half because we decided to guard and said some tough things at halftime and got it turned around and even took the lead, but we just ran out of gas. We weren’t deep enough.” 

The absence of White and Bittle placed an increased load on Marcus Heemstra and Zach Horstman who started in their places. Also seeing a greater amount of minutes was freshman Anders Broman who fell out of the rotation during conference play, coming in sparingly off the bench.

“He [Anders] played 29 minutes,” Nagy said. “That’s incredible after him hardly playing at all. He gave us a lot of minutes and did a good job for us.”

Leading the Jacks for the last time was Dykstra who scored 16 points and pulled down three rebounds, playing mostly from the three-position instead of his usual four-position.

Horstman stepped up with 15 points and five boards and Cody Larson earned a double-double, finishing with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

The Monarchs largely held Brayden Carlson in check. He scored seven points, going two for 12 from the field. Carlson did, however, have a team high three steals.

The Jacks will finish the season at 19-13. They did not reach their goals of 20 wins and the NCAA Tournament, but did manage to finish the season by going 9-3. 

“I’m proud to be a part of this group of guys,” Dykstra said. “It’s been a special season even though we didn’t end up where we wanted to be, but I’m very proud of our coaching staff