The South Dakota State Jackrabbits (9-3) walked out of Spokane, Wash. with a 77-74 upset win over Washington State (7-2, 1-1) on Saturday afternoon thanks to a buzzer beating three pointer. It had followed a frantic final six and a half minutes that got the Cougars back into the game after they had climbed out of a 10 point deficit.
Baylor Scheierman took a clean step back that sent Andrej Jakimovski tumbling to the floor as he tried to keep pace with his man. The junior then fired off an uncontested three point shot that hit nothing but net as the clock expired to secure the Jackrabbits upset win over Washington State.
The Cougars had trailed at 64-54 with 6:33 left on the clock after Noah Friedel had hit all three of his shots from the charity stripe. Noah Williams responded with his first three pointer of the second half to cut that lead to seven. That bucket sparked a 12-4 scoring run for Washington State that cut SDSU’s lead down to four with 3:33 left in the game.
After the Jackrabbits scored back-to-back buckets to make it 72-66, the Cougars reeled off six unanswered points to make cut the deficit down to two. Freidel would hit a pullup jumper with 1:16 left to push South Dakota St.’s lead back to four. But a step back jumper near the three point line — that was originally ruled a three, then overturned — by Michael Flowers cut that lead in half; then TJ Bamaba went up to the line and hit a pair of free throws to tie it at 74 with 23 seconds left.
Unfortunately, Scheierman created some space on SDSU’s final possession and drained the game winner.
WSU’s fast paced comeback followed a scoring drought that, again, hit after the under 16 media timeout. South Dakota St. reeled off a 7-0 run — Freidel was responsible for five of those seven points — to overcome a six point deficit. That run quickly expanded to 15-5 to give the Jackrabbits a the aforementioned 64-54 lead.
Which was all the more perplexing, as Washington State had started the second half on a 13-5 run of its own to retake the lead after it had trailed by eight at the half. The offense’s complete disappearance in the middle of the second half — and the first half — was ugly.
Out of the half time locker rooms, the Cougars quickly erased the Jackrabbits’ 39-31 lead with a pair of three pointers from Flowers and DJ Rodman. Flowers than tied the game up with a layup as the Coug’s defense had forced South Dakota St. to turn the ball over on its second straight possession. While Luke Appel hit a pair of bukets to get his squad the lead back, Flowers and Bamba quickly gave WSU its first lead since the beginning of the game.
The way the middle of the first half went was extremely disappointing. Mayo went off and hit three straight threes with little to no defensive pressure to push the Jackrabbits lead up to seven at 29-22 — Mouhamed Gueye hit a layup in the middle of those possessions. What had been a competitive first half quickly tilted heavily in favor of SDSU.
Ryan Rapp’s made three off of an opponent turnover cut South Dakota St.’s lead down to four but Washington State was never able to get any closer than that in the final seven minutes. A dunk by Abogidi was the last score for either squad in the half with 26 seconds left.
It was even more disappointing considering how the half started off for the Cougs. While the Jackrabbits took an early lead, the Cougs quickly tied it up and went on their only scoring run of the first half. There was a five minute stretch early on in the game where WSU outscored SDSU 12-4 to push its lead 10 16-8. But then the perimeter defense broke down on two of South Dakota State’s next three possessions and allowed Scheierman and Freidel too hit practically uncontested threes.
At the end of the first half, the Jackrabbits had hit 70% of their shots from beyond the arc, meanwhile WSU had hit only 27%. Washington State also shot 33% from the floor which meant that nothing worked on the offensive side of the court in the first half. And that’s despite the fact that they scored 1.09 points per possession in that half — slightly above average — and only turned the rock over on 6.5% of its possessions in the first half.
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Photo Credit: WSU men’s basketball