FARGO -- In just its third year of existence, the Scheels Center has established a new standard for heartbreaking losses for North Dakota State. This one could be tough to beat.
David Jenkins Jr.’s halfcourt bank shot at the buzzer gave South Dakota State a 78-77 men’s basketball victory Saturday afternoon before 3,957 fans, most of whom left the Sanford Health Athletic Complex stunned. It was the Jackrabbits’ only lead of the game.
David Jenkins Jr game-winning crusher to NDSU. pic.twitter.com/88mLVag4Vd— Jeff Kolpack (@FGOSPORTSWRITER) February 16, 2019
“It was a tough one,” said Bison guard Tyson Ward.
It was the end of frenzied afternoon that saw the Bison control the pace for 39 minutes, 59 seconds. The one second of doom was followed by a Jackrabbit team rush to tackle Jenkins, who said he hadn’t hit a winning shot since he was a little kid.
“It felt good, like I was telling our guys, the shot went in and I still couldn’t believe it went in,” Jenkins said. “It was kind of crazy.”
It was a crazy final 25 seconds. Vinnie Shahid’s driving layup with 25 seconds left gave the Bison a 76-73 lead. SDSU’s Mike Daum missed on the other end at 9.5 seconds.
NDSU had a chance to virtually ice it with Ward at the line, but he missed the front end of the bonus free throw with 7.9 seconds left.
Rather than let the Jackrabbits attempt a 3-pointer to tie it, the Bison fouled Jenkins Jr. His two free throws at 4.5 seconds made it 76-75.
SDSU immediately fouled NDSU center Rocky Kreuser, who made the front end of the bonus free throw. He missed the second, with Jenkins getting a quick outlet pass after the rebound.
He dribbled twice and let go a one-handed shot from just beyond half court.
“This one hurts,” said Bison head coach Dave Richman. “But we’ll continue to do the little things we’ve done along the way. I’m anxious to see where we can be in March.”
In March, the Bison will need to sharpen their play down the stretch. Leading 74-70, they turned it over off an out of bounds play, and Daum turned that mistake into a 3-point field goal with 49 seconds remaining.
“You reflect for 24 hours and then you come back and get ready to prepare,” Shahid said. “We have to keep getting better.”
Keep getting better at holding leads. No margin is safe in the Summit League. SDSU had a 16-point lead on Nebraska-Omaha Thursday night only to lose on a last-second shot.
The tables turned in Fargo.
“This has to be one for the memory,” Daum said. “It’s one of the craziest endings to a game.”
The crazy probably began with the Bison holding a 52-35 lead with 15:12 remaining in the second half. It was still a 14-point advantage on Tyree Eady’s layup before SDSU showed signs of chipping away.
That’s when Jenkins Jr. got hot hitting nine straight for his team. Skyler Flatten’s steal and layup finished a 13-3 SDSU run and the Jacks trailed 57-53.
“That was a very high-level college basketball game,” said SDSU head coach T.J. Otzelberger. “Tremendous environment. We’re fortunate that our guys made just enough plays to come out with a victory. We have a lot of trust in our players believing in what we can do.”
NDSU held serve, however, after Tevin King’s bucket got the Jacks within 63-61. Ward had a field goal and 3-pointer in a 9-2 Bison response and a 72-63 lead with 2:58 left. As quick as that happened, SDSU came back for the final one-minute suspense.
Other than the missed free throws, Richman was asked if his team executed what the coaching staff wanted.
“I thought for the most part we put ourselves in those positions to make those winning plays down the stretch,” he said. “But certainly, this is on me and I have to look back and make sure that I had the right guys out there in the right situations.”
Lost in Jenkins’ shot was the 31 points and 12 rebounds by Daum. Shahid was solid again with 19 points and 4 assists to lead five Bison players in double figures.
Jenkins finished with 24. He came within one second of 21.
“It was a great shot at the end of the game,” Ward said. “What happened, happened.”
SDSU (21-7, 11-2 Summit): Daum 10-22 8-8 31, Flatten 3-6 2-2 8, T. King 3-6 0-0 8, Jenkins 5-15 9-9 24, Arians 2-4 1-2 5, O. King 1-1 0-0 2, Dentlinger 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 24-54 20-21 78.
NDSU (14-13, 8-5 Summit): Griesel 3-6 0-0 8, Kreuser 3-5 1-2 10, Shahid 7-11 3-3 19, Samuelson 3-3 1-2 10, Ward 6-11 1-2 14, Eady 4-7 2-2 11, Quayle 0-4 0-0 0, Hunter 1-5 0-0 3, Geu 1-5 0-0 2. Totals: 28-57 8-11 77.
Halftime: NDSU 39, SDSU 30. Total fouls: SDSU 16; NDSU 14. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: SDSU 34 (Daum 12); NDSU 26 (Ward 6). 3-point goals: SDSU 10-23 (Daum 3-7, Flatten 0-3, T. King 2-2, Jenkins 5-10, Arians 0-1); NDSU 13-29 (Griesel 2-3, Kreuser 3-4, Shahid 2-5, Samuelson 3-3, Ward 1-3, Eady 1-3, Quayle 0-3, Hunter 1-3, Geu 0-2). Assists: SDSU 15 (Jenkins 6); NDSU 17 (Shahid 4). Turnovers: SDSU 10 (Jenkins 5); NDSU 8 (Geu 3). A-3,957.