S. Dakota St.-Minnesota Preview
Minnesota continues to climb the rankings behind an impressive
Coach Tubby Smith wouldn’t have it any other way.
The No. 14 Golden Gophers try to remain unbeaten at home Tuesday
night while improving to 16-0 against surging South Dakota
Minnesota (8-1) entered the AP Top 25 on Nov. 26 and moved up
seven spots in Monday’s poll after pulling out a 77-68 victory at
Florida State last Tuesday and cruising past North Florida 87-59 on
While Minnesota went 1 for 13 from 3-point range, it forced a
season best-tying 22 turnovers and outrebounded the Ospreys
“That’s our DNA,” said Smith, whose team leads the Big Ten with
16.2 forced turnovers per game and ranks second in opponent
field-goal percentage at 35.9. “We’ve got to hang our hat on our
defense. That was a pretty impressive defensive effort. We knew we
had a size advantage on them and it paid off.”
The Golden Gophers also came up with a season-high 13 blocks.
Junior guard Austin Hollins had a career-best four of them to go
along with 12 points.
“When we’re blocking shots and getting after steals, we’re a lot
tougher. We’ll beat a lot more opponents,” said center Elliott
Eliason, who had three steals and two blocks.
Minnesota has outscored opponents by an average of 26.8 points
in opening 5-0 at home, where it’s taken 19 straight and 40 of 41
The Golden Gophers have also had their way against Summit League
foes, winning 60 of 61 all-time matchups – including an unblemished
record against South Dakota State (6-2).
Minnesota led by two points at the break before pulling away in
the second half of a 71-55 victory over the Jackrabbits last Nov.
11. South Dakota State’s Nate Wolters finished with 20 points but
shot 8 of 22.
The senior guard, averaging 20.8 points, scored 13 on a
season-worst 5 for 16 (31.3 percent) from the floor Saturday, but
South Dakota State beat Nebraska Omaha 78-63 to extend its winning
streak to five.
Jordan Dykstra had 17 points while senior Tony Fiegen matched a
career high with 16 for the Jackrabbits, who took a 56-28 lead into
halftime before letting up a bit over the final 20 minutes.
“We don’t want to just make it about winning, it can’t just be
about winning,” coach Scott Nagy said. “It has to be about being
our best, and trying to be our best all the time, and we didn’t do
that in the second half. Our kids know it, we talked about it, and
that’s it – we’ll move on. We won’t watch any film of it because we
have to get ready for Minnesota.”
South Dakota State opened this season with a 70-67 loss at
Alabama, its only game against a team from a major conference.
The Jackrabbits fell 68-60 to then-No. 9 Baylor in the second
round of the NCAA tournament in their lone matchup against a ranked
foe last season.