South Dakota State shot a season-high percentage from the floor for the second game in a row, 60 percent, in a 75-56 win over Wayne State on Wednesday at Frost Arena.
“It’s great that we played well offensively, but we’ve been working hard on being more physical, being better off the drive and all those things. We came out in the first half and were not very good at all,” head coach Scott Nagy said of his team’s defense it the first half. “It was bothersome to me, it should’ve been bothersome to the players, as hard as we’ve been working on it.”
The Jackrabbits, who improve to 6-7 on the season, shot 79.2 percent in the first half on 19 of 24 shooting, but allowed the Wildcats, who fall to 4-5, to shoot 52 percent on 13 of 25 shooting, including a 7 for 10 effort from 3-point range.
Both teams tightened up defensively in the second half, as SDSU went 8 for 21 in the half, 38 percent, while Wayne State shot 31 percent on 9 or 29 shooting.
Leading by five at 24-19 with 9 minutes, 51 seconds left in the first half, the Jacks essentially put the game away with a 19-2 run that ended with SDSU up 43-21 with just over four minutes left in the first half.
Wayne State would cut the lead to 16 points at 49-33 by halftime and to 14 points with a bucket on its first possession of the second half, but the Jacks quickly pushed the lead back to 20 points, and never let the Wildcats any closer than 15 points the rest of the way.
Jordan Dykstra led the way for the Jacks with 18 points, adding a game-high eight rebounds. Both Cody Larson and Brayden Carlson finished with 16 points in the win, with Larson adding a trio of blocks and Carlson finishing a perfect 5 for 5 from the floor, including a perfect 2 for 2 mark from 3-point range and 4 for 4 from the free throw line.
Chad White finished with five points, but also led all players in the game with a season-high five assists.
Ty Bauschek led the Wildcats with 22 points in the loss.
The Jackrabbits look to even their record on Saturday, when they travel to Grand Forks, N.D. to take on North Dakota at 4 p.m. in a game that can be seen live on Midco Sports Net.