North Dakota state vs South Dakota state
When: 9:00 PM ET, Tuesday, March 8, 2022
Where: Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, SD
The Sioux Empire Sportsmen’s Show doesn’t start until Thursday at the Premier Center/Convention Center complex.
But the South Dakota State men’s basketball team put on a shooting exhibition of their own on Monday night against rival South Dakota.
The Jackrabbits made 69% of their shots in the first half, which saw SDSU score 55 points and lead the Coyotes by 25 points en route to an 83-60 win in front of 10,418 fans at the Premier Center.
SDSU (29-4) will face either No. 2 North Dakota State or No. 3 Oral Roberts in Tuesday’s championship game, which is set for 8 p.m. It will be SDSU’s first Summit championship game appearance since 2018, as the Jacks play in their seventh all-time championship game and will seek to secure a sixth NCAA tournament bid with a win.
SDSU was 20-for-29 shooting from the field, including 15-for-21 on two-point shots in the first half. Baylor Scheierman had 15 points, while Zeke Mayo had 13 and Douglas Wilson had 12.
“We just took what they were giving us and we took good shots and I think that’s why we shot so well because we’re a pretty efficient and electric offensive team, especially when we’re getting the shots that we want to get,” Scheierman said. “We’re pretty dangerous.”
It is the Jackrabbits’ 20th straight win, which matches the nation’s longest active win streak, also held by Murray State. Monday’s game marked the 28th time this season that SDSU has scored at least 80 points, including 18 of 20 games against Summit League foes.
“They can get going. We gave effort and they made tough shots,” USD coach Todd Lee said. “State deserves what they get. They’re very good.”
SDSU — which is the nation’s No. 1 3-point shooting team and on pace to have the best 3-point percentage for a season in nearly three decades — was 8-for-19 from deep in the game.
Wilson finished with a team-high 21 points on 8-for-11 shooting overall. Scheierman had 18 points and Mayo had 13 points.
“We were pretty locked in and we made it pretty hard for them to score,” SDSU coach Eric Henderson said. “Our guys were terrific. They made unselfish plays and they shared the basketball like they had all year.”
South Dakota (19-12) was led by Kruz Perrott-Hunt’s 19 points and Mason Archambault had 10 points, as USD was 5-for-20 on 3-pointers. Considering the Coyotes never had all-Summit performer A.J. Plitzuweit after an injury in 2021 forced him to sit out this season, Lee was pleased with how much the Coyotes improved during the season with a roster that had to learn to come together.
“This team has realized its potential more than any other team I’ve been around in 34 years,” Lee said.
Already the first team to realize a perfect Summit regular-season, SDSU can close out a perfect Summit run with a tournament championship on Tuesday. Henderson said his team will take a level-headed approach to the title tilt.
“We understand what’s at stake. … But you can’t change who you are. And we don’t want to change who we are. And that’s the way we’ve approached every game,” Henderson said. “We’re going to have some fun, we’re going to work our tails off and we’re going to play unselfish.”