FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- South Dakota State held off a scrappy Purdue Fort Wayne squad Saturday night to secure its fourth-consecutive win, topping the Mastodons 70-61 at Memorial Coliseum.
The Jackrabbits (13-9, 4-1 Summit League) led by as many as 21 after a hot-shooting opening frame, but saw the hometown 'Dons rally down the stretch to pressure State late.
"I'm really proud of our young guys and how we handled our business on a long road trip," head coach Eric Henderson said. "For us to come out the way we did in the first half, it was really impressive. We have multiple guys willing to step up and make plays and that was on display for us tonight."
Down 45-24 with 16:25 left in the game, Purdue Fort Wayne woke up offensively, cutting it to single digits with 4:25 on the clock, then pulled within six inside the final two minutes. David Wingett, however, put the game out of reach for good with 1:23 remaining ,sinking a contested 3-pointer to cap a memorable night.
Wingett blew past his previous career-high on his way to a 24-point showing, burying 9-of-15 from the field with six 3-pointers. 13 of those points came in the opening half as the Winnebago, Nebraska native helped the Jacks to their fast start.
Matt Dentlinger and Douglas Wilson were in double figures as well with 13 and 10 points, respectively. Dentlinger pulled down five rebounds and tallied two blocks.
Noah Freidel (eight points) and Alex Arians tied for the team-lead with eight rebounds, as Arians dished four assists on the night for a team that had 19 assists on 29 made field goals.
South Dakota State came out firing to build a 12-2 lead in the opening four minutes, then pushed its advantage to 14 (22-8) at 12:55 as Freidel buried a 3. The Jackrabbits, who shot 65 percent and went 5-of-8 from deep in the opening frame, continued to push and carried a 40-20 lead into halftime.
Neither team found its rhythm early in the second, but with 16 minutes left the intensity picked up as the Mastodons made their charge. The double-digit lead proved vital for the Jackrabbits, though, as SDSU capped an undefeated week in Summit League action.
South Dakota State is 20-13 all-time against Purdue Fort Wayne.
The Jackrabbits moved one-half game ahead of Omaha for first place in the Summit League standings through three weeks of league action.
David Wingett has hit two or more 3-pointers in 12 games.
The Jacks have shot over 50 percent in all five Summit League games this season.
South Dakota State welcomes North Dakota to town next Wednesday. The Jacks and Fighting Hawks tip at 7 p.m. from Frost Arena.