BROOKINGS, S.D. — North Dakota State’s solo perch on top of the Summit League men’s basketball standings didn’t last long. South Dakota State led from start to finish to defeat the Bison 78-73 Wednesday night at Frost Arena.

The Bison, who trailed by 12 points at halftime, gave it a run in the second half, but each surge was met with opposition from the Jackrabbits. As a result, NDSU dropped to 13-7 overall and 4-2 in the Summit.

SDSU replaced the Bison and moved into first place in the league at 6-2 and 15-8 overall. The Jacks were led by a two-headed monster of Matt Dentlinger with 21 points and Douglas Wilson with 20. They shot 56% from the field and outscored the Bison at the free throw line by 10, connecting on 15 of 22 attempts.

The Bison, who host Denver at 2 p.m. Saturday, fell into a tie for second in the Summit at 4-2 with Oral Roberts.

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NDSU head coach David Richman calls to his team during the game against SDSU on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 at Frost Arena in Brookings, S.D. Abigail Dollins / Sioux Falls Argus Leader
NDSU head coach David Richman calls to his team during the game against SDSU on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 at Frost Arena in Brookings, S.D. Abigail Dollins / Sioux Falls Argus Leader

Climbing out of the first-half hole proved to be too much.

“This was a hungry South Dakota State team, they were down one game to us and just dropped a game to their rival,” said NDSU head coach Dave Richman, referring to South Dakota’s throttling of SDSU last weekend. “They played like that in the first half and we weren’t at our best.”

NDSU struggled to find an offensive flow in the first half, hitting 9 of 27 shots, including 2 of 15 from 3-point range. It led to a 34-22 halftime deficit and intermission couldn’t come soon enough for the visitors.

“This was a good college basketball game, on the road against a really good team,” Richman said. “Maybe they felt like their backs were against the wall. They get Doug Wilson back (from injury) and when you go on the road it’s going to be tough.”

But the Bison hit their first three shots of the second half and that was the start of a hint of a second-half rally. Rocky Kreuser’s inside hoop with 16 minutes, 38 seconds left cut the Jackrabbits lead to 39-34, forcing an early SDSU time out.

NDSU's Cameron Hunter (22) reacts to being fouled during the game against SDSU on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 at Frost Arena in Brookings, S.D. Abigail Dollins / Sioux Falls Argus Leader
NDSU's Cameron Hunter (22) reacts to being fouled during the game against SDSU on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 at Frost Arena in Brookings, S.D. Abigail Dollins / Sioux Falls Argus Leader

Cameron Hunter’s trey made it seven straight times at the start of the second half NDSU scored on a possession and it was 41-37.

But the Bison had trouble cutting into that deficit for the next several minutes. Trailing 41-47, Kreuser’s 3-point attempt rimmed out and the Jackrabbits answered on the other end for a six-point advantage.

That’s when Tyson Ward heated up. His inside hoop and 3-pointer cut it to 55-52 with eight minutes remaining. Once again, SDSU didn’t flinch with three straight field goals and it was back to a nine-point advantage at 61-52 with six minutes left.

“We just couldn’t get quite over that hump,” Richman said. “Whether we missed a shot or just had a fundamental breakdown, more than anything it had to do with how we played — or how we didn’t play — in the first half.”

Kreuser’s 3-pointer got it to 72-68 with 40 seconds left, but that was as close as NDSU got.

It was a tough shooting night for NDSU’s leading scorer Vinnie Shahid, who didn’t hit his first 3-pointer until under a minute left in the game and ended 4 of 16 from the field for 12 points. Ward led the Bison with 24 points with Kreuser adding 18.

NDSU (13-7, 4-2 Summit): Shahid 4-16 2-2 12, Eady 3-6 1-2 8, Samuelson 0-2 1-2 1, Hunter 2-4 0-1 6, Ward 11-15 0-0 24, Knotek 0-1 0-0 0, Quayle 0-2 0-0 0, Harden-Hayes 0-0 0-0 0, Kreuser 7-12 1-2 18, Witz 2-2 0-0 4. Totals: 29-60 5-9 73.

SDSU (15-8, 6-2 Summit): Dentlinger 10-13 1-2 21, Mims 2-4 5-6 10, Sheierman 2-2 0-0 5, Arians 3-10 7-8 14, Wilson 10-15 0-2 20, Wingett 0-3 0-0 0, Dillon 0-0 0-0 0, Freidel 2-5 2-4 8. Totals: 29-52 15-22 78.

Halftime: SDSU 34, NDSU 22. Total fouls: NDSU 22, SDSU 14. Fouled out: none. 3-point goals: NDSU 10-31 (Shahid 2-10, Eady 1-2, Samuelson 0-2, Hunter 2-4, Ward 2-5, Knotek 0-1, Quayle 0-1, Kreuser 3-6); SDSU 5-14 (Mims 1-3, Freidel 2-4, Arians 1-4, Scheireman 1-1, Wingett 0-2). Assists: NDSU 13 (Ward 5): SDSU 14 (Arians 6). Turnovers: NDSU 6 (Hunter, Ward 2): SDSU 8 (Wilson 3).