VERMILLION, S.D. – South Dakota State senior Brayden Carson reached the 1,000 point milestone, Jordan Dykstra posted his sixth double-double of the season and the Jackrabbits held off a late South Dakota rally to secure a 70-68 win on Saturday in front of 5,036 fans at the DakotaDome.
"We won two road games this weekend and we out-rebounded our opponents by 24 and gave up four offensive rebounds, so that's how hard it is to win a road game, but we were the more physical team this weekend," head coach Scott Nagy said. "I'm saying for us, we were more physical than we've been, and how that translates for us is that we're playing harder, and that's just what we need to do. It's not about Xs and Os, it's more about us playing with energy and passion and I thought we did that this weekend."
The Jackrabbits, who improve to 12-10 overall and to 4-3 in The Summit League, led by as many as seven points at 14-7 midway through the first half, but the Coyotes, who fall to 8-13 overall and to 3-4 in the league, fought back to tie the game at 20-all with 6 minutes, 37 seconds left in the half, and then led by as many as six with just over 90 seconds left in the half, but the Jacks cut the lead to 32-31 at halftime, after Zach Horstman hit a shot as the first half buzzer sounded.
The home team scored first in the second half, but the Jacks responded with a 9-0 run to go back up by six points, and then used a 14-1 run later in the half that ended with the Jacks up 56-41 with 10:30 left in the game.
The Jacks never trailed again, but the Coyotes did cut the lead to as few as two points at 68-66 with 1:10 left on the clock, but Jake Bittle took a charge with 23 seconds left, got a steal after an SDSU miss with six seconds left and then hit the game-clinching free throws that put SDSU up 70-66 with five seconds left.
Carlson, who hit the milestone from the free throw line with 5:51 left in the game, led all players with 22 points, finishing with 1,003 points in his career.
"I've been surrounded by great guys; great teammates and great coaches my whole career," Carlson said about scoring 1,000 career points. "The hard work finally paid off to get to that milestone, but we got two wins this week, that's what I'm happy about, that's all that matters."
"He has put the time in," Nagy said about Carlson. "He's not a high flier, he's a good athlete, I wouldn't say he's a great athlete, but he's worked hard and he's made himself a really good basketball player."
In addition to Carlson, Dykstra finished with 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, as the Jacks won the battle of the boards 32-22, including an 8-2 edge on the offensive glass, which resulted in 12 second chance points, compared to two for South Dakota.
Both Bittle and Marcus Heemstra scored 10 points in the win.
Casey Kasperbauer led a trio of Coyotes in double figures with 17 points. Trevor Gruis added 16 and Trey Norris 14 in the loss.
The Jackrabbits start the second half of Summit League play at home on Thursday, when they host Fort Wayne in Frost Arena at 7 p.m.
NOTES: SDSU leads the all-time series 118-89-1 … the teams played in front 5,036 fans at the DakotaDome … SDSU improves to 3-9 when trailing at the half, to 3-1 against Summit League teams on the road and to 8-1 this season when holding teams to fewer than 70 points … the 45th Jackrabbit to score at least 1,000 career points, Carlson did so in 123 games, finishing the game with 1,003, but needs just 15 points to move up to 39th on the all-time list … Carlson also needs a trio of 3-pointers to crack the SDSU career-top-10 … Dykstra moved from seventh to sixth on the SDSU all-time scoring list with 1,515 career points, passing Clint Sargent (1,505 points from 2007-11) … Dykstra also moved from seventh to sixth all-time at SDSU in career rebounds with 765, passing Larry Nickelson (755 rebounds from 1975-78) … Dykstra posted his sixth double-double of the season, the 17th of his career and first since Dec. 10, 2013 at Minnesota … Dykstra's streak of consecutive free throws made came to an end at 32 in a row … White took over sole possession of 24th on the all-time scoring list with 1,155 career points, breaking a tie with Tom Rops (1,147 points from 1992-96) … Cody Larson did not score in double figures for the first time in 10 games