Clowney, No. 11 Alabama recover to beat South Dakota State

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Freshman Noah Clowney’s breakout game – 22 points, nine rebounds, four assists and a steal – helped No. 11 Alabama recover from blowing a 20-point lead and beat South Dakota State 78-65 on Saturday night.

Clowney shot 8 of 17, including 5 of 12 on 3s, in his highest-scoring game of the season.

“We’ve encouraged him to shoot it, I’m glad he did,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said. “His senior year of high school, he started out pretty poorly from 3 then shot it 40% after that, so I kind of referenced that.”

Alabama (7-1) led 37-17 with 6 1/2 minutes left in the first half. South Dakota State (3-6) rallied to go ahead 51-50 on Alex Arians’ 3-pointer with 11 1/2 minutes remaining.

Nimari Burnett’s foul shot a minute later put the Crimson Tide ahead for good at 54-53. Alabama used a 9-0 run to pull away.

Mark Sears scored 19 points and Brandon Miller had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Crimson Tide

Alabama made 14 of its first 26 shots to build a big lead before it slipped away.

“I’m not going to call them mature, we still have some room to grow,” Oats said. “Our guys have to understand, no matter who we’re playing, even if their record isn’t great, they’re Division I basketball players, they’re good teams. Last year, we had issues with this going down the road.”

Charlie Easley and Arians each scored 17 points for the Jackrabbits. Zeke Mayo added 12 points and Matt Dentlinger contributed nine rebounds.

BIG PICTURE

Sears continues to be a force at home for Alabama. In Alabama’s last three home games – wins over Liberty, Jacksonville State and South Dakota State – he has scored 22, 18 and 19 points, making at least three 3-pointers in all three games. Alabama’s next home game comes against a Memphis team that already has two wins over SEC competition.

SECOND HALF SPRING

South Dakota State coach Eric Henderson noticed that in Alabama’s first two home games, Longwood and Liberty both trailed by fewer than 10 points at halftime before losing by 21 and 36 points, respectively. He viewed the first five minutes of the second half as critical in both instances, seeing an Alabama team using the home environment to its advantage.

Henderson stressed to his team that it had to win those five minutes to have a chance. Down 42-35 at the break, it did, and ultimately took the lead.

“They really increase the pressure, they try to play a little faster, they get downhill and they really spray it,” Henderson said. “I thought we were getting some 50-50 balls, I thought we were playing with some confidence. There’s been a lot of schools to come in here and have a good first half and it ends up being a 30- or 40-point game.”

UP NEXT

South Dakota State stays on the road to face Montana on Tuesday.

Alabama takes a weeklong break before its second game against the current No. 1 team in the nation, this time a road game against Houston on Saturday. The Crimson Tide beat former No. 1 North Carolina in its first shot at the top-ranked team, winning 103-101 in four overtimes on Nov. 27.

Engstler leads Syracuse over South Dakota State 72-55

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AUSTIN, Texas — Two years ago, Syracuse got bounced out of the NCAA Tournament off its home court.

Fast forward to Sunday against the same opponent and a matchup 1,700 miles south, the Orange served up some payback.

Emily Engstler scored 18 points and made three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and No. 8-seed Syracuse pulled away from No. 9 South Dakota State for a 72-55 first-round win that had a sweet taste of revenge.

“It was definitely ammunition for us,” Engstler said, “and it looks like we answered very well.”

Syracuse advanced to the second round to play the winner of No. 1 seed UConn and No. 16 High Point in San Antonio.

Syracuse led 50-48 to open the fourth quarter before Engstler struck from long range on consecutive baskets for the Orange and Syracuse slowly pulled away from there. Her third from long range took two bounces on the rim before falling in to put Syracuse ahead 66-52 with 3:19 to play.

The Orange (15-8) had five players score in double figures in a methodical offense that produced points from everywhere, including 12 3-pointers. Senior guard Tiana Mangakahia had 11 points and seven assists.

Paiton Burckhard had 17 points for South Dakota State (21-4).

Syracuse started quickly behind Mangakahia and freshman center Kamilla Cardoso only to see the Jackrabbits mount a steady comeback and take a 28-25 lead early in the second quarter.

The Orange closed the period with a 10-3 run that included 3-pointers from Digna Strautmane and Engstler for a 37-31 lead at halftime.

Syracuse stretched the lead to nine when Mangakahia made a 3-pointer from the right wing. The Jackrabbits immediately responded behind Burckhard, who scored 11 points in the quarter and cut it to 43-42 with a short jumper.

Defensive pressure by the Orange unsettled the Jackrabbits in the backcourt in the fourth. A floater by Mangakahia off a steal pushed the Syracuse lead to 61-52 with 5:46 to play and the Orange were in control.

“Our pressure was just a factor. We were able to speed the game up,” Syracuse coach Quinton Hillsman said. “I thought tonight we did a great job of knocking down 3s. When they doubled the post we made 12 3s in this game, and that was huge.”

COMEBACK FROM CANCER

Mangakahia sat out last season after being diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer, which led to chemotherapy and a double mastectomy to remove fast-growing tumors. The Australian returned to lead the NCAA with 7.5 assists per game coming into the tournament.

MISSING POINTS

South Dakota State was missing the star of its 2019 upset. Myah Selland, the Summit League player of the year, has been out since a Feb. 19 injury.

“That’s definitely a thought in the back of all our minds, but we had a really good season with Myah and we continued to play well without Myah,” Burckhard said. “I’m not going to sit on it and dwell on it.”

REBOUNDING BATTLE

The Jackrabbits don’t start a player taller than 6-foot-2 yet controlled the rebounding for much of the game and finished with a 48-36 advantage over much-bigger Syracuse. They couldn’t capitalize. The Jackrabbit grabbed 13 offensive rebounds but turned them into just six second-chance points.

“They definitely had a lot more size than we’re normally used to playing in the Summit League,” Burckhard said. “Just having to utilize our strength and just kind of having a different mentality when it comes to guarding 6-7 girls and guards that are 6-feet tall.”

No. 22 South Dakota State women hold off UMKC 72-66

Loren Townsley / Argus Leader
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BROOKINGS, S.D. — Paiton Burckhard scored a season-high 24 points, Tylee Irwin scored a critical basket with 20 seconds to go and No. 22 South Dakota State held on to defeat UMKC 72-66 on Saturday, wrapping up a perfect Summit League regular season for the first time.

The Jackrabbits, who led by as many as 17 late in the third quarter, went ice cold down the stretch. The Roos had a 7-0 run to pull within 68-64 with 2:31 to play.

Both teams missed and had turnovers before the Jackrabbits had a miss with 26 seconds to go. In a scramble for the offensive rebound, the ball went to South Dakota State with six seconds on the shot clock. Irwin got the ball on the left wing, drove to the basket and finished in traffic from close range, ending a scoreless drought of 5 minutes, 10 seconds.

Irwin finished with 17 points for South Dakota State (21-2, 14-0), which has won 18 straight games. The Jackrabbits were without conference scoring leader Myah Selland after she suffered a possible season-ending leg injury last weekend. Selland and starting forward Tori Nelson both missed their third-straight game.

Naomie Alnatas scored 19 points for UMKC (10-11, 7-8) and Paige Bradford add 17 with 11 rebounds.

The Roos for 7 of 11 in the fourth quarter, going 3 of 4 from 3-point to finish 10 of 20 from 3-point range and 24 of 48 overall after shooting less than 40 percent in a loss to SDSU on Friday.

No. 22 South Dakota State women clinch Summit League title

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BROOKINGS, S.D. – Paiton Burckhard and Tylee Irwin each scored 19 points and No. 22 South Dakota State beat UMKC 73-53 on Friday night to clinch the Summit League regular-season title.

Burckhard was 9 of 18 from the field, including South Dakota State’s opening four baskets. Irwin made all 12 of her free throws, eight coming in the fourth quarter, as the Jackrabbits were 25 of 36 at the line. South Dakota State shot 18 free throws in the fourth compared to UMKC’s 12 attempts for the game.

Mesa Byom added nine points for South Dakota State (20-2, 13-0), which has won 17 straight games. The Jackrabbits were without starting forward Tori Nelson and conference scoring leader Myah Selland due to injuries.

The Jackrabbits close their regular season against UMKC on Saturday, attempting to finish the regular season undefeated at home for the first time since the 2013-14 season.

RaVon Nero and Mandy Willems each scored 11 points for UMKC (10-10, 7-7). The Roos were held to 37% shooting and 20 second-half points.

Irwin scores 31, carries No. 23 South Dakota State women

Erin Bormett / Argus Leader
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FARGO, N.D. — Tylee Irwin scored a career-high 31 points on Saturday night to help shorthanded No. 23 South Dakota State complete the road sweep of North Dakota State 69-60.

Irwin passed the 1,000-point milestone on a 3-pointer with 7:59 left in the fourth quarter and set a career high for the second straight night. She scored 25 for South Dakota State (19-2, 12-0 Summit League) in Friday night’s 86-78 win over the Bison (14-6, 9-5).

Irwin made 11 of 15 from the field, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range, and made all five foul shots. Her boost in production came in the absence of Jackrabbits leading scorer Myah Selland (19.2 ppg) and fellow starter Tori Nelson (9.4). Both players left the game Friday night with apparent knee injuries.

It was South Dakota State’s 16th straight win, clinching the No. 1 seed in the Summit League tournament and at least a share of the regular season title. Paiton Burckhard added 11 points.

Ryan Cobbins had 16 points for North Dakota State. Kadie Deaton added 11 points and Emily Dietz scored 10.

Irwin scores 17 in 4th, No. 23 SDSU women beat NDSU 86-78

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FARGO, N.D. — Tylee Irwin scored 17 of her career-high 25 points in the fourth quarter, Paiton Burckhard had 16 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, and No. 23 South Dakota State beat North Dakota State 86-78 on Friday night to extend its winning streak to 15 games.

South Dakota State took the lead for good during a 14-0 run in the first quarter – with six points from Tori Nelson. Irwin was 4-of-5 shooting in the fourth, including three 3-pointers, and 6 of 7 at the free-throw line.

Myah Selland added 10 points and Nelson finished with eight for South Dakota State (18-2, 11-0 Summit League). Irwin was 8 of 10 from the free-throw line as the Jackrabbits hit 25 of 36.

Heaven Hamling scored 23 points with five 3-pointers for North Dakota State (14-5, 9-4). Emily Dietz added 15 points with five assists and Ryan Cobbins had 14 points and seven rebounds.

The two teams play each other again on Saturday as South Dakota State attempts to win its 12th straight in the series.