WEEKLY NOTEBOOK: No. 15 (w/stats)
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- With a one-two matchup looming in Omaha Thursday on Valentine's Day between South Dakota State and the Mavericks, the top half of the #SummitMBB standings is starting to separate itself from the bottom with only three weeks remaining in the regular season.
Oral Roberts is sitting in the No. 5 spot with a 6-6 record, but the Golden Eagles are 2.5 games clear of a pack of the remaining four teams who are only separated by one game. Only eight of the nine teams will secure a spot in Sioux Falls for the Men's Basketball Championships March 9-12 at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, so the intensity of games will remain high throughout the final third of #SummitMBB action.
FIVE THINGS YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED...
• Purdue Fort Wayne and North Dakota State both enter the week riding four-game winning streaks. The Mastodons will have to extend their streak on the road while the Bison will be home in the comforts of Scheels Arena where they own a 9-1 record this season.
• NDSU's Vinnie Shahid has been the catalyst for the Bison during this latest stretch of success. The JUCO-transfer is averaging 21.5 ppg in those four wins after scoring just 7.6 ppg in NDSU's previous five games.
• SDSU senior Mike Daum (25.0 ppg) and sophomore David Jenkins (19.1 ppg) rank one-two in The Summit League in scoring and the only higher-scoring teammate duo in the NCAA is Duke's freshman combo of R.J. Barrett (23.1 ppg) and Zion Williamson (21.8 ppg).
• Western Illinois center Brandon Gilbeck became just the third player in Summit League history to record a triple-double last Thursday at Purdue Fort Wayne. He is also only the third league player to record double-digit blocks in a game. Central Connecticut State's Keith Closs achieved the feat six times, while Southern Utah's Brad Kanis did so once.
• Oral Roberts' Kevin Obanor is putting together an impressive rookie season in The Summit League. His 18.8 ppg average in league play ranks fourth among Summit players and he has upped that average to 22.7 ppg over the last seven contests.
UPCOMING SCHEDULE (TV/Stream; all times local to site)
Thursday, February 14
Purdue Fort Wayne at Denver* 7 p.m.
Oral Roberts at North Dakota State* (MSN/E3) 7 p.m.
South Dakota State at Omaha* (MSN2/COX/E+) 7 p.m.
Saturday, February 16
South Dakota at Western Illinois* (WIU-TV/E3) 2 p.m.
SDSU at NDSU* (MSN/E+) 4 p.m.
Purdue Fort Wayne at Omaha* (Altitude2) 4:30 p.m.
Oral Roberts at North Dakota* (MSN2/E3) 7 p.m.
Wednesday, February 6
NDSU 74, North Dakota 70*
Thursday, February 7
Oral Roberts 78, Denver 65*
Purdue Fort Wayne 79, Western Illinois 64*
Omaha 107, South Dakota 102 (OT)*
Saturday, February 9
NDSU 81, Denver 71*
SDSU 80, North Dakota 55*
Sunday, February 10
Oral Roberts 86, South Dakota 72*
*Summit League contest
THE NET RESULTS
Here's a look at how Summit League members are stacking up in the NCAA's new "NET" rankings system, which replaced the RPI from year's past.
Through games of Feb. 10:
South Dakota State (97)
Purdue Fort Wayne (213)
North Dakota State (214)
South Dakota (227)
Oral Roberts (297)
Western Illinois (300)
North Dakota (302)
NOTING THE PIONEERS...
• The Pioneers return home Thursday looking to snap a four-game losing skid against Purdue Fort Wayne.
• This is DU's only matchup of the week and the Mastodons won the first meeting 91-81.
• Ronnie Harrell, Jr., is coming off a 23-point outing in a loss at North Dakota State. It was his team-leading seventh 20-plus point game of the season as the Creighton transfer continues to lead the Pioneers in scoring (13.9 ppg).
• Senior Joe Rosga is adding 12.6 ppg and has averaged double figures in each of his four seasons for the Pios.
• Rosga is also a career 43 percent shooter from 3-point range and is right on that figure this season, leading the team with 53 makes (124 attempts).
NOTING THE FIGHTING HAWKS...
• The Fighting Hawks have a two-week stretch that features only a pair of Saturday home games vs. Oral Roberts (Feb. 16) and Denver (Feb. 23).
• Senior Cortez Seales has moved into the top spot on the team's scoring charts (13.3 ppg) thanks to a five-game stretch where he's averaging 16.0 ppg.
• Seales is also averaging 8.1 rpg during those five games as well -- helping fill the void of fellow senior co-captain Conner Avants (12.3 ppg/5.2 rpg) who has missed each of those contests.
• Freshman Filip Rebraca has started in place of Avants during the stretch (averaging 8.6 ppg and 6.6 rpg).
• Seales and former high school teammate Marlon Stewart are among the top four assist-men in league action. Stewart has dished out 49 (2nd) and Seales is fourth with 42.
NOTING THE BISON...
• North Dakota State has won four straight, including three in a row on the road to get the streak started.
• The latest victory -- an 81-71 triumph over Denver -- opened a four-game homestand for the Bison.
• JUCO-transfer Vinnie Shahid has been the catalyst during the team's recent run of success. He is averaging 21.5 ppg during those four games after scoring just 7.6 ppg in the five games before the streak began.
• Shahid has taken over the team's scoring lead (12.3 ppg) thanks to his latest surge, but junior classmate Deng Geu (11.5 ppg) and Tyson Ward (11.5 ppg) are not far behind.
NOTING THE MAVERICKS...
• The Mavericks have won seven of their last eight and arrive back home this week to face league-leading South Dakota State Thursday and current third-place holder Purdue Fort Wayne Saturday.
• The Jacks dealt Omaha its lone blemish during that stretch -- an 83-73 loss on Jan. 26.
• Senior Zach Jackson has scored 20-plus points in five of his last six games (20.3 ppg) and his 18.3 ppg average inoverall games (fourth) and league games (fifth) has him ranked in the top five among league players in both categories.
• Senior Mitch Hahn and junior J.T. Gibson have reached double figures in all 10 of Omaha's league games. Hahn is averaging 16.5 ppg (8th) while Gibson is adding 15.0 ppg (13th) in league play.
• With 13.0 ppg from K.J. Robinson, the Mavericks boast four of the top 18 scorers in Summit League action.
NOTING THE GOLDEN EAGLES...
• After dropping four in a row, the Golden Eagles responded with back-to-back wins last week -- again playing without All-Summit League First Teamer Emmanuel Nzekwesi.
• Fortunately for ORU, redshirt freshman Kevin Obanor is playing at a high level. In last week's two wins he averaged 26.0 ppg and 13.0 rpg and secured his first career #SummitMBB Player of the Week award.
• He leads all Summit League rookies in scoring in league action at 18.8 ppg and has upped that to 22.7 ppg over the last seven contests.
• Junior point guard Sam Kearns is averaging 16.8 ppg in the five games since he returned from a four-game absence. Before missing time, Kearns averaged 8.3 ppg in 18 games.
NOTING THE MASTODONS...
• The Mastodons have sandwiched a three-game losing streak around a pair of four-game winning streaks to sit at 8-3 in league play and third in the league standings.
• If Purdue Fort Wayne extends its current winning streak that will take place on the road as the Mastodons face Denver (Feb. 14) and Omaha (Feb. 16) away from home this week.
• Senior John Konchar is nine points away from topping the 500-point plateau in a season for the first time. He is averaging a career-best 18.9 ppg this season and has already become the program's all-time leading scorer.
• Konchar ranks among the top five in The Summit League in scoring (18.9 ppg; 3rd), rebounding (8.5 rpg; 3rd), assists (5.2 apg; 1st) and steals (1.9 spg; 1st).
NOTING THE COYOTES...
• The Coyotes return to action Saturday at Western Illinois looking to snap a four-game skid against a Leathernecks' squad mired in a three-game skid of its own.
• WIU is the team that started the current skid after winning 65-59 in Vermillion on Jan. 26.
• The Leathernecks, who have not won since held sophomore Stanley Umude to just three points that day.
• In those last three games, Umude is averaging 24.6 ppg and gotten to the free throw line 34 times (27 makes). His 19.3 ppg scoring average is league games is third among Summit players.
• Junior Triston Simpson has back-to-back 20-plus point scoring games -- the first time he's achieved that since the second and third games of the season.
NOTING THE JACKRABBITS...
• Senior Mike Daum (25.0 ppg) and sophomore David Jenkins (19.1 ppg) rank one-two in The Summit League in scoring and the only higher-scoring teammate duo in the NCAA is Duke's freshman combo of R.J. Barrett (23.1 ppg) and Zion Williamson (21.8 ppg).
• Daum is already The Summit League's career scoring king with 2,883 points, passing Oral Roberts' Caleb Green earlier this season. Now, now he is only 36 rebounds away from becoming the all-time leader in that category, which Green holds at 1,189.
• Daum had his second 20-plus rebounding game of the season -- both against UND -- last Saturday in an 80-55 win over the Fighting Hawks.
NOTING THE FIGHTING LEATHERNECKS...
• The Leathernecks will look to halt a three-game losing skid against a South Dakota squad who provided them their last victory -- a 65-59 win in Vermillion on Jan. 26.
• Senior Brandon Gilbeck keeps delivering some jaw-dropping performances during his final collegiate season. The latest was a 12-point, 16-rebound, 10-block triple-double Thursday in a loss at Purdue Fort Wayne.
• The triple-double was just the third in Summit League history and first of its variety this season at the NCAA Division I level.
• The 10 blocks also moved his season total to 91, which is tops among DI players and equals the most in a game this season.
• The 91 blocks also broke his own school record for single-season blocks (85; 2017-18) and are the seventh most by a Summit League player in a single season.