South Dakota State men's basketball came out victorious in a closely-contested matchup Tuesday night, defeating North Alabama 78-73 at Frost Arena.
Down one at halftime, the Jackrabbits (4-2) shot 63.2 percent in the second half to surge ahead down the stretch. Additionally, SDSU turned in a plus-16 effort at the charity stripe, burying 25-of-33 at the line.
Matt Dentlinger led the way with a 17-point, 11-rebound double-double, matching Brandon Key with a team-high four assists without committing a turnover.
Key poured in 18 points to lead the Jackrabbits in the scoring column, matching his career high in points while burying a trio of 3-pointers.
Noah Freidel and Douglas Wilson added 13 points each, with Freidel hitting three 3-pointers and Wilson shooting 80 percent (4-of-5) from the field.
SDSU pulled down 40 rebounds in the game, turning 11 offensive boards into 17 second-chance points.
"It's good to be back at Frost Arena," head coach Eric Henderson said. "Certainly excited about our second half. I thought we played probably the best offensive half we have had this year with this group of guys. It was really nice to play inside out, and when you take the right shots, you shoot a little better percentage. That's what I was really proud of (with) our guys tonight. I thought we took better shots. I thought we played very unselfishly."
Neither team controlled the momentum through a back-and-forth opening frame. State's first lead came after the under-12 media break on a Freidel 3-pointer, but five minutes later saw a 28-22 lead slip away before halftime as UNA rallied to take a 33-32 lead into the locker room.
The second half started with an offensive frenzy from both squads, as fans saw five lead changes in the opening 94 seconds before an Alex Arians layup at 18:26 started a 5-0 run that gave SDSU all the separation it would need the rest of the way. UNA pulled within one on three occasions before the 10-minute mark, but the Jacks pushed their lead to double figures on a Dentlinger layup at 6:58 at the close of a 9-0 SDSU rally.
The Lions would not quit, however, and cut its deficit to five inside the-two minute mark before 3-pointers from Freidel and Key down the stretch sealed the win.
• This was the first-ever meeting between South Dakota State and North Alabama.
• SDSU has now won 11 consecutive games at home, currently tied for the ninth-longest active streak in Division I.
• The Jackrabbits were plus-16 on the boards, posting their third double-digit rebounding margin of the season.
• Matt Dentlinger has two double-doubles this season.
• The back-and-forth game saw 12 lead changes and four ties throughout the contest.
South Dakota State heads for Tucson, Arizona for a Thursday matchup with the Arizona Wildcats. Tip is set for 8 p.m. CT / 7 p.m. MT.