SDSU Wins First Summit League Men's Crown
(2) South Dakota State 52, (4) Western Illinois 50 (OT)
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - The championship game of the 2012 Summit League men's basketball tournament provided some senior moments for South Dakota State's Griffan Callahan.
The only senior on the Jackrabbit roster had two free throws to tie Western Illinois at 44 in regulation and force the first overtime in the tournament final since 1995.
Then the 6-4 native of Seneca, Ill., drained a three-pointer with1:27 to play, putting the Jacks ahead 52-50, SDSU's first lead since 16-15 at 9:51 of the first half.
And on the last possession of the game, he grabbed the rebound when Western Illinois missed its last shot, preserving the victory and propelling the Jackrabbits to their first-ever berth in the NCAA Division I championships.
South Dakota State will take a 27-7 record to the NCAA tournament. WIU, the No. 4 seed, took a four-game win streak in the title game and ends its season 18-14. It was the lowest scoring title game since Green Bay beat Northern Illinois 56-39 in 1991.
After Callahan's basket gave SDSU the lead, the Jacks came up with a steal but gave the ball back with a shot clock violation. WIU had 10 seconds to work with but missed its last shot.
The Jackrabbits had to rally from a 12-point second-half deficit to win the game.
WIU held SDSU scoreless over the last four minutes of the first half and took a 28-24 lead, thanks to a three-pointer by Jack Houpt and a layup by Terell Parks to close the scoring for the period.
The Leathernecks pushed their lead to 12, at 37-25, on a basket by Tommie Tyler at the 15:24 mark.
Then SDSU began chipping away, getting it to nine, 37-28, on a jumper by Nate Wolters at 14:19, then to seven on a Callahan three-pointer at 10:43, 38-31. They cut it to five, 42-37, on a Callahan layup at 6;05, and down to two at 42-40 when Chad White hit a three-pointer at 4:57.
A layup by Tyler at 4:19 pushed WIU's back to four, 44-40, but was the last points the Leathernecks would get in regulation. Wolters hit two free throws at 4:08 and that was the only scoring until Callahan's two free throws tied it.
WIU scored on a dunk by Tyler off the overtime jump ball, but SDSU came right back with a basket by Tony Fiegen to tie it again. After Parks scored a layup for WIU, White hit another three-pointer putting SDSU up by one. But Obi Emegano's layup at 2:08 made it 50-48 WIU. Again, that would be the last points for the Leathernecks.
Wolters led SDSU with 14 points, but was just 5-for-22 from the field. In a typical Wolters game, however, he added six rebounds, four assists and two steals - and had just two turnovers in 44 minutes.
Callahan finished with 10 points while White had nine on three three-point baskets.
SDSU shot 35.2 percent for the game (19-for-54) but was 3-for-5, 60 percent, in the overtime.
Tyler led all scorers with 19 points but was the only player in double figures for WIU. WIU shot 40.4 percent (21-for-52) from the field but SDSU had a 7-6 advantage in three-point baskets and 7-2 advantage in free throws (WIU was just 2-for-6 at the line). SDSU also had a 38-32 rebounding advantage.
2012 SUMMIT LEAGUE MEN'S ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Ceola Clark III, Western Illinois
Jordan Dykstra, South Dakota State
Terell Parks, Western Illinois
Jackson Stevenett, Southern Utah
Nate Wolters, South Dakota State (MVP)