Gauchos down Jacks

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Chad White shoots a jump shot in a loss earlier this season to the Montana Grizzlies.

The Jacks men’s basketball team failed to carry the moment of two straight home victories with them on the road and fell 83-64 to the University of California Santa Barbra Gauchos on Friday Nov. 29. 

Though briefly silenced by their victories the questions concerning how the Jacks will replace Nate Wolters and when the talented team will come together resurfaced after another road loss. Head coach Scott Nagy doesn’t care for those questions and is confident with the team he has, but he nevertheless is being forced to answer them.

“There’s four seniors on the team and Nate’s been gone for quite a while now,” Nagy said. “We don’t talk about Nate anymore. We have plenty of good players that have won a lot of basketball games that know how to win games. Sometimes the adjustments take a while.”

The Jacks (3-5) had no answer for the Gauchos’ (3-2) star center Alan Williams, who made mockery of SDSU’s strength in the paint to score a total of 39 points while pulling down nine rebounds and blocking eight Jackrabbit shots.

“I’m not sure that you could call it a valiant effort [for our defense] when he gets 39 points,” Nagy said. “I think that they were just more well prepared, quite frankly. We didn’t get off to a very good start and I thought in the second half we finally got off to a good start. We fought back and got back in the game in the first half when we didn’t play very well.”

The Jacks fell behind early in the contest, trailing 11-3 after just three minutes of play, but eventually rallied to pull themselves back into the game. At halftime the Gauchos held a 32-30 lead, but the Jacks came out of the locker room and seized a 33-32 lead off of a Chad White 3-pointer. For the first three minutes of the second half the two teams grappled back and forth and found themselves tied at 40 with 17 minutes to play before Williams and the Gauchos pulled away. The Jacks made several late runs, but those runs were warded off by the Gauchos who turned what had been a hard-fought contest into a rather lopsided victory in the final minutes. 

Though supposed to be the Jacks’ strength, they found themselves out scored 34-14 in the paint. SDSU also shot a miserable 63.9 percent on 19 free throw attempts while the Gauchos made 13 of 17, shooting 75.6 percent from the line. On the game, the Gauchos shot 55.2 percent compared to the Jacks 43.1 percent.

“When you look at every statistical category on that sheet, they did better than us,” Nagy said. They were more well prepared, a tougher basketball team by far.”

Jordan Dykstra may have seen his numbers dip, but he still had a solid night for the Jacks, scoring 14 points with seven rebounds. He also made three of five 3-point shots. White also performed well, scoring 15 points, collecting five rebounds, and making three assists. Cody Larson was the other Jackrabbit to reach double figures, scoring 15 points and pulling down four rebounds. 

Going forward the Jacks need to get tougher especially in the paint. Nagy has talked about this year’s team as being one that will rely on its forwards and inside play much more heavily than in past years, and he thought a lack of toughness cost the Jacks against the Gauchos.  

“Every time something tough needed to happen, we didn’t get it done,” Nagy said. “And that’s frustrating. It’s one of the things about are team – we’ve got a great group of kids, I mean great kids, but sometimes you have to get grimy to get games. … I’m talking about tough and nasty and it just doesn’t’ come naturally to us.”