In their second game of the Dakota Showcase, the Jackrabbits took care of business against the Fighting Hawks of North Dakota winning 74-62. Even in an empty gym, the Jacks came out with unmatched energy.
Getting the ball to Matt Dentlinger was the early theme of the night. Matt tallied a quick seven points in the first three minutes; ending with a team high 21 while also collecting 7 boards. The major factor that allowed UND to stay in the game early was the lack of offensive ball movement. The Jacks were sloppy with the ball and got stagnant offensively. They led by as much as 11 points but only took a one point lead into the break. The biggest contributing factor that led to the big lead’s disappearance was the 7 turnovers and 1-10 shooting from three.
The second half was a different story for the Jacks; consistent energy and great ball movement allowed them to run away with it late. Shooting 6-14 from three, the Jacks got more active off ball and found better looks. They were slightly cleaner with the ball as well, yielding only 6 turnovers in the second half.
There were a few major takeaways from tonight’s performance. The first was Baylor Scheierman is no longer a star in waiting for the Jacks. He has to be taken seriously as a major threat when game planning for the Jacks. He tabulated his 4th straight double-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists as he kept the Jackrabbits offense moving, and cleaned the boards all night. Last year, SDSU was 0-3 when Doug Wilson was off the court, and Noah Freidel would have to carry the team to keep them close. This year with Baylor, Alex Arians and company, the Jacks are 2-0 without Wilson. The bench roles are also starting to really take shape. With David Wingett filling in the starting rotation; Charlie Easley has shown he can take over major minutes in the guard rotation. Luke Appel also put together another strong game with 6 points and 3 rebounds off the bench.
Clearly, the Jacks coaches were looking for a more consistent tempo. After almost every rebound or turnover, the coaches would yell for the men to push the ball down court. When the Jacks are running, they are hard to defend. Their lightning quick ball movement tends to lead to wide open shots from beyond the arch.
The Jacks have started off their first two games of the showcase fast and with energy, and don’t expect that to change tomorrow against USD. They will just need to show more consistency on the offensive side of the ball and remain locked in on defense.
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