The South Dakota State men's basketball team opened the home portion of it's 2012-13 schedule on Tuesday night in front of 3,193 fans at Frost Arena with a 78-71 win over Tennessee State.
The Jackrabbits, who even their record at 1-1, led by as many 17 points late in the first half, but saw that lead slip to as few as three points with six and a half minutes left in the game, mostly because of too many turnovers.
"That's a good team we beat tonight. They won 20 games last year and have their top four scorers back, so they are very good and that is a great win for us," head coach Scott Nagy said. "We need to take better care of the basketball, it's uncharacteristic of us to give have 16 turnovers. There are just some things we need to clean up."
Nate Wolters led the way for the Jackrabbits with 22 points, including a perfect 10-for-10 night at the free throw line. He also added nine assists and six rebounds. Jordan Dykstra scored 18 points and grabbed 18 rebounds before fouling out with a minute and a half left in the game.
Chad White scored his first points of the season, finishing with 11, nine of which came from long distance. Tony Fiegen added 10 points to go along with his team-high nine rebounds.
Robert Covington led the Tigers, who fall to 0-2 on the season, with 23 points and added 11 rebounds to complete one of two Tiger double-doubles. The other one came from Patrick Miller, who finished with 12 points and 10 assists.
Leading by two points early, the Jacks used a 14-2 run to take a commanding 23-9 lead with 10:28 on the first half clock. The lead would reach 17 points on a Wolters jumper with 1:07 left in the first half, but TSU's Kellen Thornton hit a shot just before the buzzer to send the Jackrabbits into the locker room up 15 at 42-27.
The Jackrabbits watched the double digit lead slowly slip away to three points at 57-54 on a Covington dunk with 6:58 in the game.
The Jacks bounced back with a 12-4 spurt though that pushed the lead back to 11 at 69-58 with 4:08 left to play and kept it a two possession game for the rest of the way.
The Jackrabbits return to the road for three games this weekend at the 2K Sports Classic benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project inHempstead, N.Y., starting with a game against the host Hofstra Pride on Friday at 7 p.m. ET, 6 p.m. CT.
NOTES: SDSU improves to 3-1 all-time against Tennessee State ... junior Marcus Heemstra made his first career start in the game ... freshman Jake Bittle saw his first collegiate action in the game and scored his first career points ... Wolters scored at least 20 points for the 33 time in his career and for the second time this season ... Wolters dished out at least nine assists in a game for the eighth time in his career ... Wolters went a perfect 10-for-10 from the free-throw line, which makes him a perfect 16-for-16 from the line this season