BROOKINGS – The South Dakota State basketball teams swept a doubleheader on Thursday night. Each team won in blowout fashion as the women took down Montana State and the men defeated Presentation College.
• SDSU 78, Montana State 49
The Jacks put the clamps down defensively in the second half, holding the Bobcats to just 17 points and came away with a blowout non-conference win.
For the game, SDSU held MSU to 31.3% shooting from the field and 4-28 from three. SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston said he thought his team stuck to their game plan defensively.
“Our guards did a great job of handling penetration and getting through screens. Then our posts did a great job of helping out. I just thought they did a great job of executing that plan well. We got back, kept the ball in front of us and did a nice job on the glass. [MSU] didn’t have many second chance points and they’re a pretty good rebounding team, so that was important too,” Johnston said.
MSU led 18-14 at the end of the first quarter. The Jacks then went on a 14-2 run to start the second quarter to go up 28-20. SDSU led 36-26 with 2:16 left in the first half, but the Bobcats closed out the half on a 6-0 run to make it 36-32 at the break.
SDSU started the third quarter just like the second quarter. The Jacks opened the second half on a 12-0 run to extend their lead to 48-32 with 6:22 left in the third. Johnston credited freshman point guard Paige Meyer and senior guard Tylee Irwin for propelling the big run.
“Paige Meyer just makes plays,” Johnston said. “She continues to find shots for herself, but also her teammates. Tylee [Irwin] made some shots there. It’s good to see that. We need Tylee to be an offensive force for us, not just a contributor. We need Tylee to be looking for her shot, confident and ready to knock down shots, and she played better in the second half I thought.
“Then I just think transition overall. We really score in transition well and it was good to see our team get out and run like that.”
SDSU led 59-39 at the end of the third quarter. The Jacks opened the fourth quarter on a 13-6 run to put the game out of reach.
Meyer finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Her freshman counterpart, Haleigh Timmer, had 12 points and three rebounds. Johnston said he expected the two freshmen to have a big impact early in their careers.
“We just think the world of [the two freshmen]. We think they’re both going to have great, great careers. They’re great teammates. Both kind of play different styles, which is good because they complement each other well. But they both have such confidence that they can go out and make plays at this level and not take a back seat to anybody, and I really like that,” Johnston said.
Meyer and Timmer are following a long line of SDSU players who have played big minutes to start their career. Johnston said he plays freshmen right away because he believes they fit into the system right away.
“Paige and Haleigh were both great players before they came to South Dakota State, so I think recruiting is important for us. But also I think finding players that fit our system well and really have a place for what we do. They don’t have to come in and relearn a whole new style of play. They can come in and be themselves and fit well into what we do,” Johnston said.
The Jacks shot 48.1% from the field and were 8-23 from three. They were 18-24 at the free throw line.
Irwin had 11 points and four rebounds. Kallie Theisen had 10 points and six rebounds. Paiton Burckhard had eight points and seven rebounds and Tori Nelson had seven points and six rebounds. Haley Greer had eight points.
SDSU won the rebound battle 43-34. The Jacks had 34 points in the paint, 17 points off turnovers and eight second chance points.
The Jacks have played their first four games without the 2020-21 Summit League Player of the Year in Myah Selland. Selland is finishing up rehab on a season-ending knee injury from last year, but Johnston said she should be able to return to the lineup soon.
“I think we’re going to see [Selland] soon. Next week or two probably. Hopefully we get some good news there. Even when she comes back, it’ll be a gradual return. It won’t be 35 minutes in game one, but I really feel like she’s that close and I think we’ll see her before Christmas for sure play some significant minutes,” Johnston said.
SDSU is now 2-2 and plays at Creighton on Sunday at 7 p.m. The Jacks will then travel down to Estero, Fla., for the Gulf Coast Showcase Nov. 26-28. Through four games, Johnston said he has been happy with how his team has played.
“We’ve played really well. We’ve defended pretty well for the most part. We need to continue to find some consistency offensively and I think we’ll get there. We’re only going to get better as the year goes on, but the effort has been great. They’re a fun team to be around and they’ve got a lot of good basketball in front of them,” Johnston said.
• SDSU 99, Presentation 62
Presentation, an NAIA school from Aberdeen, fell behind 17-2 five and half minutes into the game and that was all she wrote. SDSU would lead 57-37 at halftime and cruised to the finish line.
SDSU shot 56.5% and was 18-35 from three. The Jacks were 11-15 from the free throw line.
Douglas Wilson and Noah Freidel each had 14 points to lead the Jacks. Wilson was 7-7 from the field and had seven rebounds. Freidel was 4-6 from three. Alex Arians had 11 points and Matt Dentlinger had 12. Zeke Mayo had 10 points and seven rebounds. Baylor Scheierman had nine points and seven rebounds.
The Jacks are now 4-1 and don’t play until next Monday. SDSU will participate in the Crossover Classic in Sioux Falls at the Sanford Pentagon and will play three games in three days. The Jacks take on Nevada at 6 p.m. on Monday, Washington at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday and George Mason at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday.