Purdue Fort Wayne upsets South Dakota State 77-74

Redshirt senior forward Matt Holba scored a team-high 21 points as Purdue Fort Wayne upset SDSU 77-74.
Redshirt senior forward Matt Holba scored a team-high 21 points as Purdue Fort Wayne upset SDSU 77-74.

Press Conferences: Purdue Fort Wayne Head Coach Jon CoffmanPurdue Fort Wayne Players | SDSU Head Coach Eric Henderson | SDSU Players

The Basics
Score: No. 7 Purdue Fort Wayne 77, No. 2 South Dakota State 74
Records: Purdue Fort Wayne (14-18), South Dakota State (22-10)
Location: Denny Sanford PREMIER Center - Sioux Falls, S.D.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Despite a career-high 35 points from Summit League Freshman of the Year Noah Freidel, No. 2 seed South Dakota State could not get by seventh-seeded Purdue Fort Wayne, who held on for a 77-74 victory over the Jackrabbits. The Jacks' loss came without the services of Player of the Year Douglas Wilson, who missed his second-straight game.

The Mastodons got a season-high 21 points from senior Matt Holba, who sparked the victory by making six triples, including two key ones midway through the second half.

Holba got plenty of help from his teammates, who used a 9-0 first-half run to provide a big enough cushion to eventually hold off a late run by the Jackrabbits.

The Jackrabbits jumped out to an early 8-2 lead thanks to a pair of Freidel three-pointers, but the Mastodons stayed the course and got back-to-back triples from Brian Patrick and one from Deonte Billups to turn a 22-21 deficit into a 31-21 lead with just under eight minutes left in the half.

Alex Arians snapped the 9-0 run with a three-pointer of his own and then the Jacks got a trio of free throws from Freidel to cut the lead back to 31-27. The 'Dons did get the lead back up to 38-28, but the Jacks were able to make it a 40-33 score at halftime.

The Mastodons held onto their lead for most of the second half and used a four-point trip down the floor to boost a 49-44 lead to a 53-44 lead. Holba made a free throw, missed the second, but Purdue Fort Wayne got the rebound and the senior forward buried a triple with 12:45 on the clock.

The Jacks kept battling though and Alou Dillon drew an administrative technical foul at the 10:46 mark when the Mastodons were called for the second flop of the contest. Freidel hit the free throw to cut the lead to 55-51. That sparked the Jacks, who battled back to take their only lead after halftime at 58-57. Dillon provided the brief advantage with a pair of free throws, but Holba answered with back-to-back triples on the other end to put the 'Dons back in front. He finished with a season-high six makes from beyond the arc as the Mastodons finished with 13 as a team.

SDSU came back to tie the game three more times down the stretch, but the 'Dons answered each time and never trailed again.

Freidel broke a single-game freshman scoring record in the tournament, scoring five points in the final minutes, including his seventh 3-pointer of the game that made it a 75-74 contest. The Jacks were unable to foul the 'Dons, however as Marcus DeBerry broke free for a layup and SDSU could not get a decent look off as time expired.

Along with Holba's season-high 21 points, the Mastodons got 12 points from both Billups and Jarred Godfrey, and 11 from Patrick.

Arians finished with 15 points in the loss as the only other Jackrabbit to score in double figures. He also added a game-high 10 rebounds to complete the game's only double-double.

The Mastodons will play the winner of the No. 3 South Dakota and No. 6 North Dakota matchup on Monday at 8:30 p.m.

Turning Point
Purdue Fort Wayne senior Matt Holba hit back-to-back triples after SDSU took its only lead of the second half with 8:51 to play.

Inside the Box Score

  • Purdue Fort Wayne improves to 12-3 when leading at the half, while SDSU falls to 5-8 when trailing at the half.
  • The Mastodons finished with a 20-14 advantage in points off turnovers, 32-26 in points in the paint and 15-9 in bench points.
  • Holba's season-high 21 points topped his previous season-high of 18, vs. Miami (Ohio) on Nov. 13, 2019.
  • Freidel's career-high 35 points topped his previous mark of 28, set at Omaha on Dec. 29, 2019. It was also the most points scored by a freshman in a Summit League tournament game.
  • Arians' third double-double of the season gives him five for his career.

News & Notes

  • SDSU leads the all-time series with Purdue Fort Wayne 21-14, with the Mastodons holding a 3-2 edge in the tournament.
  • The Jacks won the last tournament meeting, 64-60 in the 2014 semifinals.
  • SDSU falls to 20-7 all-time in the tournament, with a 9-3 record in the quarterfinals.
  • Purdue Fort Wayne improves to 8-12 all-time in the tournament, with a 7-6 mark in the quarterfinals.
  • The last No. 7 seed to beat a No. 2 seed happened in 2009, when SDSU beat ORU, 72-69 in overtime in 2009, the Jackrabbits' first-ever Summit League Tournament game.
  • After winning tournament titles in 2016, 2017 and 2018, it was the second straight quarterfinal-exit for the Jackrabbits, who were the top seed in the 2019 event.

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