By Wayne Otto
College Sports Journal
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A sold-out Sioux Falls Arena of 6,614, 11 NBA scouts, a national TV audience for all games — for the first time in league history — three men’s basketball teams with wins over NCAA power conferences, and five of the nation’s NCAA Division I top 15 scorers, await the opening night of the Summit League championship tournament.
Just hours before, the women opened the tournament with same
Top-seeded South Dakota State (22-8) dispatched Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne
(9-21) 80-59 behind a balanced scoring attack that featured four players in double figures in scoring led by Jennie Sunnarborg with 14.
The Lady Jackrabbits led comfortably 35-18 at the half and never looked back as
they shot 53% from the field and dominated the backboards 41-23.
No. 2 seed Oral Roberts University (20-10) didn’t have the same success
as the Jackrabbits.
Western Illinois (12-18) sprung the upset on the Golden Eagles 83-71 as ORU was held to 16 first half points on 20.6 percent shooting, while three-time Summit League player of the year, Kevi Luper was held in check by the Leathernecks.
ORU scored 55 second-half points, but it wasn’t enough to dig out of a 22-point halftime deficit.
Valencia Kelly led the Leathernecks effort with 24 points and Saule Kontautaite tallied 22.
South Dakota State now awaits the winner of tomorrow’s game between North Dakota State and IUPUI.
Western Illinois will play the winner of UMKC- Oakland.
The women’s semifinals are scheduled for Monday afternoon.
Oral Roberts opened up the men’s action with a 27-5 overall mark and 17-1 in the Summit League. The Golden Eagles made up a two-point deficit 61-59 with IPFW with 2:34 remaining in the game.
Guard Rod Pearson, Jr., scored seven of his 15 points down the stretch in critical situations.
ORU placed five players in double figures led by Warren Niles with 17. Summit League player of the year, Dominique Morrison was held to 10 points, well below his 20.3 average. Morrison was 2-of-11 from the field and was never able to get untracked due to the sticky Mastadons man-to-man defense.
To compound the Eagle’s problems, Morrison fouled out with 2:34 to play and the Eagles needed the scoring of Michael Craion’s 16 points and Steven Roundtree’s 11.
IPFW (11-19) finished the season behind a strong effort from guard Frank Gaines and his game leading 26 points and 9 rebounds.
Trey McCorkle added 10 and Antwaun Boyd chipped in with 10 also.
ORU plays the winner of Sunday’s North Dakota State-Western Illinois winner.
Second-seeded South Dakota State won the first day night cap with a 77-56 victory over the IUPUI Jaguars.
The Jacks powered by all everything point guard Nate Wolters, opened up a 40-28 halftime lead and never looked back. Wolters scored 15 of his game high 22 in the first half and also added team highs of seven rebounds, six assists and five steals.
Wolters is the 7th leading scorer in the country with a 21.2 average. The Jackrabbits never trailed in the game after opening on a 7-0 run.
NBA prospect Alex Young and his 20.7 average, was held to 10 points on 3-of-14 shooting.
South Dakota State denied him scoring opportunities with their 2-3 denial zone defense.
The Jacks shot 56% compared to the Jag’s 43 percent and out-rebounded the Jags 30-24.
South Dakota State will play the winner of Sunday’s Southern Utah-Oakland game on Monday night.