Second half surge aids South Dakota State over UND

BROOKINGS, S.D. (UND Athletics) -- A strong scoring outburst over the final 20 minutes boosted league-leading South Dakota State over North Dakota, 80-55, in men’s basketball on Saturday afternoon at Frost Arena in Brookings.

After a back-and-forth affair in the opening half, the Jackrabbits (20-6, 10-1 Summit League) outscored the Fighting Hawks (9-16, 3-9 Summit League), 47-23, in the final stanza to collect their sixth straight win in the overall series and 16th consecutive win at Frost Arena over UND.

Mike Daum continued to prove his future status as a potential NBA draft pick as the senior recorded his 48th double-double of his career with 29 points and 20 rebounds. Despite being limited to just 1-of-8 from three, Daum connected on nine of his 11 attempts from inside the arc and all eight of his free throw attempts to pace all players in points and rebounds.

Cortez Seales has been stepping up since the injury to Conner Avants, and did so again on Saturday afternoon for the Fighting Hawks. The senior recorded a team-high 15 points, eight rebounds, and four assists for another strong all-around game. Seales has now reached double figures in points 19 times this season and has also led the team in rebounding in four of the last five tilts.

Filip Rebraca, who had the task of guarding the All-American Daum for much of the game, performed well offensively with 12 points and seven rebounds in the loss. The freshman has scored 10+ points in seven of his 15 starts this season.

Marlon Stewart was the final Fighting Hawk in double figures, scoring 10 first-half points, for his sixth double-digit scoring effort in the last seven games. The junior also added four rebounds, three assists, and connected on three triples to pace UND’s nine-made threes on the afternoon.

North Dakota was able to match the league leaders punch-for-punch throughout much of the opening portion of the half, but turnovers plagued the Fighting Hawks from building a lead. Seven giveaways by the visitors allowed the Jackrabbits to build a 15-8 advantage with just over 12 minutes to play in the first stanza.

SDSU pushed its lead to nine just beyond the midway point of the half, but the triples continued to fall for the Fighting Hawks as Stewart sank his first of the game and the fifth overall for the visitors to chip the deficit back down to just four, 25-21, with seven minutes to play.

While the threes were sinking for UND, they were doing everything but that for South Dakota State as the hosts missed all 15 attempts from distance in the first half. The Jackrabbits connected on 14-of-17 attempts from inside the arc to carry a slim 33-32 lead into the halftime break.

Stewart was strong through 20 minutes for the Hawks, scoring 10 points on a trio of makes from deep while also grabbing three rebounds and an assist. Seales was also doing his thing as well, chipping in eight points and collecting five boards. Daum had a double-double in the first half, scoring 12 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, but no other SDSU player made more than two field goals as UND was strong defensively.

After missing all 15 three-point attempts in the first half, Daum hit SDSU’s first three of the game on the opening possession of the second period, but after UND answered right back to tie the game at 38, the Jacks roared back with five straight points to force a UND timeout less than three minutes into the final half.

The run continued for the Jackrabbits, scoring 20 of the next 22 points over a 5:13 span to turn the 38-all deadlock into a 58-40 lead with just over 13 minutes to play in regulation.

South Dakota State was able to keep its distance for the remainder of the contest, outscoring the Fighting Hawks, 47-23, over the final 20 minutes to collect the 80-55 victory.

North Dakota will enjoy a break from action, returning to the floor next Saturday vs. Oral Roberts at 7 p.m. from the Betty.