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Early threes haunt UND in 92-73 loss at SDSU

Jackrabbits hit 14 triples; Hawks fall to 3-4 in Summit League play
UND team huddle.
UND team huddle.(KSFY)
Published: Jan. 22, 2021 at 11:13 PM CST
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BROOKINGS, S.D (UND Athletics) – South Dakota State knocked down 14 threes, including 10 in the first half, to defeat North Dakota, 92-73, in men’s basketball on Friday night from Frost Arena in Brookings, S.D.

UND (4-12, 3-4 Summit League) whittled a 24-point halftime deficit down to just 11 at the midway point of the second half, but couldn’t overcome a strong shooting performance from SDSU (9-3, 3-0 Summit League) to complete the comeback.

Tyree Ihenacho turned in probably his best all-around performance as a collegiate player in the loss, scoring a career-high 14 points on 6-of-13 shooting while adding a personal-best eight rebounds and dished out five assists. Filip Rebraca was also strong for the Hawks, matching Ihenacho’s 14 points and grabbing four boards for his 24th straight game in double figures.

After not scoring in either game last weekend, Seybian Sims posted 10 points, earning five of those at the line, to go alongside his three rebounds, trio of steals and two assists. Caleb Nero was the final Fighting Hawk in double figures, also scoring 10 points off the bench with a pair of makes from three.

South Dakota State connected from all three phases on the offensive side in the win, shooting over 60 percent from both the field and from three while knocking down 80 percent from the charity stripe. Noah Freidel paced the Jacks with 24 points on six triples while Baylor Scheierman tallied a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.

North Dakota came out with a strong start, scoring on its first three possessions, but SDSU started to take control with around seven minutes gone in the first half. Following a Nero bucket to cut the score to 14-10, the Jacks started to connect from the field at a strong rate to extend the advantage to double figures, 22-14, for the first time on the night.

A pair of triples helped keep UND in the fight through the middle of the stanza, but a near-five minute spurt without a field goal allowed SDSU to extend its lead and carry a 24-point lead into the halftime break.

It was an onslaught from distance for the hosts in the first half, with South Dakota State knocking down 10 triples on 15 tries to build a 56-32 lead after 20 minutes of play. The Jacks weren’t too shabby from inside the arc as well, hitting 10 of their 16 shots to record a .645 clip from the field.

Following the halftime break, UND came out as nearly a different team to open the second, scoring the frame’s first seven points and forcing a SDSU timeout just over two minutes in. It was the combination of Rebraca and Ihenacho that led the way through those opening minutes, with duo combining for all seven points.

The Hawks kept chipping away as the opening portion of the second half wore on, eventually cutting the lead down to 11, 59-48, following a Sims make at the charity stripe. UND made it a mission to make it uncomfortable for the Jacks on both ends of the floor, forcing some tough shots and getting to the free throw line on offense to help build some momentum.

After UND trimmed it to 11, South Dakota State started to get to the free throw line itself and coupled with a three-minute scoring drought by the Hawks allowed the hosts to extend the lead back to 20, 69-49, with 10 minutes remaining. The 11-point deficit was as close as UND would get, with SDSU holding on for the 92-73 victory.

North Dakota and South Dakota State will close out the weekend series on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. from Frost Arena.

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