BROOKINGS — With one long streak on either side of the rivalry in the rearview mirror, South Dakota State started on another one.
Gone was the 29-game home winning streak.
Gone was the 13-game home winning streak against the rivals to the south.
And, most relevant to the current situation, gone is the two-game losing streak to the Coyotes this season.
The Jackrabbits got rolling — and it felt like it was only a matter of time — in the second half and scored an 89-78 victory over the Coyotes on Saturday night at Frost Arena.
“We knew this was a game we had to win, but we also didn’t want to have that mindset that we had to,” said SDSU’s Douglas Wilson, who scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half.
“We knew it’d be a tough one and it would come down to those toughness plays to win the game.”
In the process of rebounding from Friday night’s loss to USD, the Jackrabbits (11-4, 5-1) avoided a sweep in an emphatic fashion.
They were down 13 points late in the first half, but got their offense clicking after halftime thanks in large part to Wilson and mistakes by the Coyotes (11-7, 9-1).
“We knew a run would come,” said USD’s Stanley Umude, who scored 34 points.
“They weren’t just going to fold and let us walk out of here with two wins, easily.”
The Coyotes were able to avoid those big runs the opposite way on Friday night, but a series of missteps played into SDSU’s surge on Saturday, according to Lee.
“That’s what you need to avoid on the road,” he said. “But tonight, in the second half, they were living at the front of the rim.”
The consequence of USD’s turnovers (the Coyotes committed 17 for the game) and quick offensive trips allowed the Jacks to get 20 more possessions than USD.
South Dakota made 61 percent of its shots in the first half, but only 39 percent in the second half.
“They just turned up the intensity defensively,” Umude said. “They’re a good defensive team. We didn’t handle the pressure well and we had too many turnovers.”
It also didn’t help the Coyotes that Wilson finally got going.
The Jackrabbit standout, last season’s conference Player of the Year, was limited to 1-of-3 shooting with foul trouble in the first half. He responded by making 6-of-13 shots for 19 points with eight rebounds in the seocnd half.
“I put himself and my teammates in a bad situation, being in foul trouble,” Wilson said. “I wanted to come out and not be too aggressive but get back into my game mode.”
Wilson actually scored eight straight points for the Jackrabbits after they had put together a 10-0 run and then began to build on their lead.
“He’s a great player,” Umude said. “He’s real physical and once he gets the ball down low in the paint, it’s tough to guard him.”
South Dakota State head coach Eric Henderson said he thought his team had a “stagnant” start to the game, but in the end, he was proud of how his squad stuck together.
“It took us a while still even tonight to get the momentum on our side,” Henderson said. “We could feel that energy in the arena and we were able to take control.”
Matt Dentlinger scored 12 of his 21 points after halftime for the Jackrabbits, while Baylor Scheierman had 19 points and nine assists, and Noah Freidel chipped in with 10 points and four rebounds.
In addition to Umude’s 34 points, the Coyotes got 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists from A.J. Plitzuweit. Xavier Fuller added eight points, and Tasos Kamateros and Nikola Zizic both scored six points.
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