Wednesday, March 07, 2018

South Dakota State: 2017-18 Summit Men's Basketball Champions



SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- The Jackrabbits are tourney bound again.

David Jenkins Jr. scored 29 points, Mike Daum had 25 points and 11 rebounds, and South Dakota State beat South Dakota 97-87 on Tuesday night to win the Summit League Tournament championship, clinching the Jackrabbits a third straight NCAA Tournament berth.

Daum was the Summit League Player of the Year, but was limited to 27 minutes because of foul trouble. Jenkins stepped up in his place in the first half with 16 points -- he came in averaging 15.8 points per game.

"I made sure I stayed aggressive at all times," Jenkins Jr. said. "I just took what the defense gave me."

The Jackrabbits went on a 30-17 run with Daum on the bench. The first half featured 11 lead changes before SDSU opened things up.

SDSU took a 47-35 lead into halftime, with Daum getting just six points in seven minutes. He entered the game averaging 23.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.

"We're not often times forced to play that many minutes in a half without Mike," SDSU coach T.J. Otzelberger said. "If you look at our team night in and night out, different guys step up. If you're a great team, that's what you do."

Reed Tellinghuisen added 18 points and 11 rebounds for SDSU (28-6), which has won 11 straight. The Jackrabbits shot 48 percent from the field, including 14 for 28 from the 3-point line.

SDSU built the lead to 20 in the second half before South Dakota mounted a challenge midway through the half. Brandon Key's basket for the Jackrabbits made it 57-37 with just under 16 minutes to play. At that point, South Dakota was just 2 for 12 from the field in the second half.

"We really struggled guarding them, and they were cooking on all cylinders," South Dakota coach Craig Smith said. "I just didn't put our guys in a good enough position to win, especially during that run in the first half."

The Coyotes chipped away at the lead. Nate Fuller came off the bench and scored five straight to cut it to 40-28 with 13:07 to play. It was the first time South Dakota had been within 12 since 40-28 late in the second half.

Tyler Hagedorn scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half for the Coyotes (26-8) to help fuel the run, which dwindled SDSU's lead to six with just under three minutes to play.

Jenkins' 3-pointer with 1:38 to play pushed the lead back to 11 at 90-79.

South Dakota's leading scorer, Matt Mooney, led the Coyotes with 30 points but was 9 for 26 from the field, including 3 for 11 from the 3-point line.

Tyler Peterson had 15 points and six rebounds for South Dakota.

BIG PICTURE

South Dakota State: The 28 wins is an SDSU team record.


South Dakota: The Coyotes are hoping to finally edge SDSU next year, with Mooney returning for his senior season after averaging 18.3 points per game as a junior.

HE SAID IT

"To Coyotes fans: I know it doesn't help, but I'm sorry. I played really bad and I'm sorry I didn't come through," Mooney said.

DEFENSIVE EFFORT

The 97 points allowed by South Dakota is the most this season for the Coyotes.

ATTENDANCE

Attendance at the championship game was 11,114, the largest ever for a Summit League championship game.

UP NEXT

South Dakota State: The Jackrabbits head to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year and for the fifth time in seven years. They've never won an NCAA Tournament game.

Wright State: 2017-18 Horizon Men's Basketball Champions



DETROIT -- Grant Benzinger grew up watching the NCAA Tournament, looking up old highlights and locking in for "One Shining Moment," with his dad, hoping to play in it someday.

His dream is about to come true.

Benzinger had 19 points and nine rebounds to help second-seeded Wright State beat eighth-seeded Cleveland State 74-57 on Tuesday night to win the Horizon League Tournament title and earn an NCAA Tournament bid.

"It's great to be a part of it now," he said.

The Raiders (25-9) will play in the NCAAs for the third time in school history and the first since 2007.

"I'm sure we'll probably have a pretty high seed and we'll play one of the top nine or 12 teams in the country," coach Scott Nagy said.

The Vikings (12-23) took their last lead with 7:36 left in the first half and seemed to wear down, playing their fourth game in five days.

Wright State took control late in the first half with a 13-2 run, taking an eight-point lead at halftime. The Raiders outscored Cleveland State 10-2 early in the second half to pull away.

"There's no excuse about being tired," Cleveland State guard Kenny Carpenter said.

Loudon Love made his first field goal with 14:42 left to put the Raiders up 44-33. The 6-foot-9, 275-pound center finished with nine points and 12 rebounds, setting the school's freshman scoring record and its single-season mark for rebounds. Wright State's Cole Gentry and Jaylon Hall scored 11 points apiece.

"Love displaced us all game," Cleveland State coach Dennis Felton said. "We did a very, very good job establishing position, but he was just very persistent and very physical."

Carpenter, playing in his hometown, had 18 points and Tyree Appleby scored 15 for the Raiders.

"To play in front of family, it's just special," Carpenter said. "It was a great experience and I'll never forget it."

BIG PICTURE

Cleveland State : Felton, who led Georgia and Western Kentucky to the NCAA Tournament, guided the low-seeded team to one-point wins over Northern Kentucky and fourth-seeded Oakland near its suburban Detroit campus to advance to the finals. That gave the Vikings their first four-game winning streak in four-plus years.

"Even before this run to the championship, I know we accomplished a lot this year because we kept improving," said Felton, who was in his first year at the school.

Wright State: Nagy led South Dakota State to the NCAA Tournament in 2016 for third time in five years. The Horizon League Coach of the Year can use that experience to help his players, who were young kids the last time the Raiders were in the NCAA Tournament 11 years ago.

"Coach knows what it takes to get there and what to do when you're there, so we'll just follow his lead," Benzinger said.

IN SUPPORT

Wright State's postgame celebration included giving Ryan Custer a championship cap. Custer had spinal cord surgery after an accident 11 months ago, putting the 6-foot-7 former Raiders forward in a wheelchair.

"To have him here this weekend was wonderful," Nagy said. "I know it was good for him and his family."

UP NEXT

Cleveland State: Felton started two freshmen -- Appleby and Stefan Kenic -- and will have to build around them next season after a lot of departures.


"We'll be starting all over two years in a row because next year, over half of our team will be new players," Felton said. "So the few returning players that we have, they've got their work cut out for them in terms of leading the next group."

Wright State: After an enjoyable trip back to campus in Dayton, Ohio, the Raiders will find out Sunday who they're playing and where they're headed in the NCAA Tournament.

"They'll walk around for four or five days and everybody is going to pat them on their back and tell them how great they are," Nagy said. "So it'll be my job to bring them back down to earth."

Bucknell: 2017-18 Patriot Men's Basketball Champions



LEWISBURG, Pa. -- There was no dramatic comeback this time. Just a steady, overpowering performance that propelled Bucknell to its second straight Patriot League Tournament championship.

Stephen Brown scored 22 points and reserve Nate Sestina added as Bucknell won the Patriot League title with an 83-54 victory over Colgate on Wednesday night.

The top-seeded Bison (25-9) head to the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in program history and sixth time as the Patriot League representative. Four of those six titles have come in the last eight years.

The second-seeded Raiders (19-13) lost to Bucknell for the third time this season. The second matchup, on Feb. 12 at Bucknell, saw the Bison make an amazing comeback from eight down in the final 21 seconds.

Those kind of heroics weren't necessary this time. The Bison took the lead for good midway through the first half and never looked back. The lead was 35-21 at halftime and eventually ballooned to 33.

"You have to give our guys a lot of credit," said Bucknell coach Nathan Davis, a former assistant at Colgate. "Our focus defensively was outstanding. After the first three or four minutes of the game, our purpose offensively really improved."

The Bison finish the season with a 15-1 record at home. They have won 18 of 19 entering the NCAA Tournament.

Brown, who made five 3-pointers, was named tournament MVP. Bucknell shot 46 percent from beyond the arc (13-for-28).

"The players and coaches kept encouraging me to keep shooting," Brown said. "They kept trusting the work that I put in, and eventually they started to fall."

Will Rayman, Colgate's leading scorer coming in and a second-team all-Patriot League pick, scored 17 points. Jordan Burns added 12 for the Raiders.

Nana Foulland had 12 points for the Bison. Zach Thomas, the Patriot League regular-season MVP, scored just five points but grabbed 12 rebounds.

Colgate was playing in the league championship game for the first time in 10 years and gunning for its first Patriot League championship since 1996.

"Their defense led to offense and their offense was really good," Raiders coach Matt Langel said of the Bison. "They were disciplined. They scored in transition some, they kicked the ball inside. They took what we gave them: They're so dangerous from so many spots."

BIG PICTURE

Bucknell tied Holy Cross for most Patriot League Tournament titles in league history and could make a case for currently being the premier program in the conference. The Bison are the first team to win back-to-back tournament titles twice (2005-06).

Colgate didn't have enough firepower for the Bison this season. With three starters back next season -- including Rayman -- they may yet successfully challenge the Bison for league supremacy.

TURNING POINT



Bucknell came away with three points on three straight possessions to turn a three-point deficit into a six-point lead in the first half. Mackenzie buried a 3-pointer from the corner, Brown hit another from the top of the key, and then Sestina converted a three-point play. The Bison never trailed again.

HIGHLIGHT REEL

With the Bison holding an 11-point lead in the first half, Rayman tried to save the ball from going out of bounds under the Bucknell basket. But he slapped the ball right into the abdomen of Sestina, who dunked it over Dana Batt to bring the home fans to their feet.

UP NEXT

Bucknell will find out Sunday where it's headed for the NCAA Tournament.

Colgate has an outside shot at an NIT or CBI berth.