Press Conference: (8) Western Illinois and (1) South Dakota State
Score: No. 8 Western Illinois 79, No. 1 South Dakota State 76
Records: Western Illinois (10-20), South Dakota State (24-8)
Location: Denny Sanford PREMIER Center - Sioux Falls, S.D.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Two years ago, as a No. 8 seed, Western Illinois took top-seed South Dakota into overtime before falling to the Coyotes. Saturday, again as the eighth seed, the Leathernecks tried again. This time against No. 1 seed South Dakota State, they made tournament history.
Western Illinois held off a furious late rally from South Dakota State to become the first eight seed in Summit League Tournament history to knock off a one seed in 31 tries, topping the heavily-favored and three-defending champion Jackrabbits, 79-76.
Kobe Webster buried his first three attempts from 3-point range, and Western Illinois used runs of 6-0 and 8-0 to build a lead that reached as many as 13 points at 38-25 with just over a minute left in the first half before taking a 38-28 lead into the locker room.
The Jackrabbits came out fired up after half, and despite cutting the lead down to nine points a couple of times, the Leathernecks used a 7-0 run to build it up to a game-high of 14 points at 50-36 on a Zion Young triple with 15:11 remaining.
SDSU kept pushing and WIU kept answering. The Jacks cut the lead to seven twice midway through the second half, but the Leathernecks responded both times. When SDSU cut lead to seven again at 68-61 with 3:13 remaining, WIU responded again, this time with a second-chance and-1 from Brandon Gilbeck, which stretched the lead to 71-61 with 2:45 on the clock.
Not done fighting, the Jacks got a Tevin King steal and layup cut the lead to six with 2:11 left and a David Jenkins 3-pointer to cut it to four at 73-69 with 1:50 left. Western Illinois kept fighting as well, but SDSU kept cutting into the lead, getting it down to 1 at 77-71 on a Jenkins triple with 14 seconds left.
Enter Keshon Montague, who played all of one minute in the game, but he got fouled with 10 seconds left and buried both free throws to give the Leathernecks a 79-76 lead.
With one last gasp, Jenkins' game-tying 3-point attempt at the buzzer rimmed out, securing the historic win for the Leathernecks.
Webster and Ben Pyle led five Leathernecks in double figures with 17 points each. Gilbeck, Zion Young and Jordan Hughes all pitched in with 13 points, with Gilbeck adding a game-high 13 rebounds to complete the double-double.
Jenkins led a trio of Jackrabbits in double figures with a game-high 29 points, with Tevin King adding 19, and Mike Daum 16 points and 11 rebounds for his 21st double-double of the season.
Western Illinois advances to play the winner of No. 4 seed North Dakota State vs. #5 seed Oral Roberts on Monday at 6 p.m. South Dakota State earned the league's automatic bit to the NIT, and waits for that announcement on Sunday, March 17.
- After a David Jenkins jumper put the Jacks up 13-12 with 12:07 left in the first half, the Leathernecks responded with a 6-0 run, and never trailed again.
Inside the Box Score
- Daum's 21st double-double of the season gives him 53 for his career
- Gilbeck's sixth double-double of the season gives him 13 for his career
- Gilbeck entered the game with a national-best 102 blocks, and added three more
- The Western Illinois bench outscored the SDSU bench 15-4
- WIU outrebounded SDSU 43-38, with an 11-6 edge on the offensive glass
- SDSU led two times during the game, both by one point and both in the first eight minutes
News & Notes
- SDSU falls 20-6 all-time in the tournament, with a 9-2 record in the quarterfinals and an 8-2 mark as a No. 1 seed
- WIU improves to 15-19 all-time in the tournament, with a 9-21 record in the quarterfinals and an 1-8 mark as the No. 8 seed
- Western Illinois won a tournament game for the first time since the 2013 quarterfinals, when it beat South Dakota, 54-53
- SDSU lost in the quarterfinals for just the second time in 11 tournament appearances, the first since 2010, a 71-66 loss to Purdue Fort Wayne
- At least three Jackrabbits scored in double figures in 31 of 32 games this year
- Jenkins moved to 26th on the career scoring list at SDSU with 1,175 career points
- Daum's 16 points gives him 3,042 for his career, ninth all-time in NCAA history