MACOMB, Ill. – Not only did Nate Wolters become the first Jackrabbit in history to score 2,000 career points, but South Dakota State also handed Western Illinois its first Summit League loss and snapped the Fighting Leathernecks 11 game winning streak on Saturday with a 59-53 win.
"I thought our kids were so relaxed, we did a great job when they hit those threes early and went up 8-2, we were relaxed, we hung in there and were obviously up at the half," head coach Scott Nagy said. "I knew were in good shape then, just because I've been in these games, those huge home games, a lot of times the energy can get sucked out of you if it isn't a big blowout right away, and I think our kids did a great job of hanging in there.
The Jackrabbits improve to 14-6 overall with the win and to 5-2 in the league, Western falls to 14-4 overall and to 6-1 in the league.
The rematch of last season's Summit League Tournament Championship featured 13 lead changes and eight tie scores, with neither team leading by more than six at any point in the game. The Leathernecks led by six after a pair of early 3-pointers at 8-2, the Jacks got their first of two six point leads on a pair of Jordan Dykstra free throws with 31 seconds left in the game, and the other on a pair of Chad White charity tosses with 22 seconds left.
Down by one with 8:15 to play, Dykstra put the Jacks on top 46-44 with a 3-pointer, and although SDSU would never trail again, the Leathernecks would tie the game three more times, but never regain the lead, before the Jacks went up for good at 53-50 on a White 3-pointer with 3:02 left in the game.
Wolters, who came in 12 points shy of 2,000 for his career, led all players in the game with 22 points, and hit the milestone from the free throw line with 2:04 left in the first half.
"We're super proud of him, and obviously he feels better because when he broke the scoring record, it was in a loss," Nagy said of Wolters passing the 2,000 point mark for his career. "So I know he's happy about it, it's a tremendous accomplishment"
"I didn't even know how many points away I was," Wolters said of hitting the milestone. "It's a pretty cool accomplishment, a big win for us and we're back in the league race, so it feels good."
Wolters also added five rebounds and a game-high six assists, which gives him 579 for his career, and leaves him 27 assists shy of breaking the school record of 605.
Dykstra overcame a slow start to score 12 points in the win, 10 of them in the second half, adding six rebounds. White and Tony Fiegen both finished with 10 points, with White tying a career-high mark with nine rebounds, which led all SDSU players.
Jack Houpt led a trio of Leathernecks in double figures with 16 points. Terell Parks added 14 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, while Adam Link finished with 13 points in the loss.
The Jackrabbits take their three-game winning streak to Indianapolis on Saturday, when they take on the IUPUI Jaguars at 3 p.m. ET, 2 p.m. CT.
NOTES: SDSU leads the all-time series with Western Illinois 11-3, with wins in each of the last eight meetings … the teams played in front of a Western Hall season-high 4,163 fans … Wolters scored his now 2,010 career points in 113 career games, he reached double figures for the 18th time this season, for the 99th time in his career and for the 56th straight game, and scored at least 20 points for the 11th time this season and for the 52nd time in his career … Fiegen scored in double figures for the 11th time this season and for the 32nd time in his career … Dykstra reached double figure points for the 13th time this season and for the 48th time in his career … White reached double figures for 12th time this season and for the 40th time in his career … White also scored in double figures for the fifth straight game after being held scoreless at North Dakota State on Dec. 29 … Brian Norberg holds the SDSU career assists record of 605, set from 1995-99
BROOKINGS, S.D. — Four South Dakota State players scored in double figures and all 12 Jackrabbit players to see action scored in an 86-51 victory over Western Illinois in Summit League women's basketball action Thursday night at Frost Arena.
The Jackrabbits, who ran their winning streak to eight, improved to 14-5 overall and 6-0 in league play. WIU dropped to 9-8 overall, 2-3 in The Summit League.
SDSU never trailed in the contest and broke a 2-all tie by scoring the next seven points. The Jackrabbits built their lead to double digits for the first time at 24-13 on a basket by Katie Lingle with 5:34 remaining as part of another 7-0 spurt.
The Jackrabbit lead grew to 20 points in the final minutes of the first half, with SDSU taking a 44-25 lead into halftime after HannahStrop sank a three-pointer from the right wing with five seconds remaining.
SDSU continued to extend its lead in the second half on the strength of 61 percent (17-of-28) shooting from the field. The Fighting Leathernecks trimmed the margin to 16 points, 50-34, in the opening minutes of the second half before SDSU countered with a 16-4 run to put the game away.
Ashley Eide led the Jackrabbits with 16 points, followed by 15 from reigning Summit League Player of the Week Megan Waytashek. Reserve Megan Stuart scored a career-high 10 points, while Lingle also came off thebench to score 10 points.
The Jackrabbits ended the night 32-of-63 from the field, 50.8 percent, including 9-of-22 from three-point range. At the line, SDSU made 13-of-21 attempts, 61.9 percent.
Strop hauled in a career-best eight rebounds and Leah Dietel also corralled eight boards to pace SDSU's 51-35 advantage in rebounding.
Western Illinois received 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field by Ashley Luke. Rebecca Henricson added 10 points and three assists for the Fighting Leathernecks. Luke and Saule Kontautaite posted a team-high six rebounds each. Kontautaite, who came into the game as WIU's leading scorer with an average of 13.9 points per game, was held scoreless in Thursday's contest.
From the field, WIU was 19-of-65, 29.2percent, including 6-of-27 from long range. The Fighting Leathernecks converted 7-of-12 free throws for 58.3 percent.
SDSU closes out its brief homestand Saturday afternoonagainst IUPUI. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. at Frost Arena.
NOTES: SDSU leads the all-time series 11-1 and has won the last 11 meetings … the Jackrabbits improved to 44-5 (.898 winning percentage) at home against Summit League opponents … SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston upped his career record to 304-104 (.745) … with IUPUI losing Thursday at North Dakota State, 71-68, the Jackrabbits are the only team with fewer than two league losses … the Jackrabbits set season highs for points (86), field goals made (32) and field goal percentage (50.8) , and tied their season high with 51 rebounds … Stuart was 5-for-6 from the field en route to her career-high 10 points … Strop was 3-for-4 from three-point range for nine points … Chloe Cornemann tied a career high with four assists … freshman guard Jessica Hart scored her first collegiate points on a jumper in the closing minutes … attendance was 2,346