SUMMIT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT: Fort Wayne Hands Jackrabbit Men Another Stunning Early Exit

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BROOKINGS, S.D. -- No. 2 seed South Dakota State fell to No. 7 seed Purdue Fort Wayne 77-74 Saturday night at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.

Noah Freidel led all scorers with 35 points, burying 7-of-15 from beyond the arc and 6-of-8 from the charity stripe. Alex Arians posted a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double, adding three assists.

Matt Dentlinger grabbed seven boards, scored six points and dished three assists. Baylor Scheierman collected six rebounds.

"Well I'd like to congratulate coach (Jon) Coffman and his team first and foremost," head coach Eric Henderson said. "Obviously disappointed in the result but (I'm) really, really proud of our guys. What we've accomplished this year, I'm very, very proud of it."

Back-and-forth early, Purdue Fort Wayne gained separation with a 14-2 run midway through the first half to take a 31-21 lead. Arians' triple and a trio of Freidel free throws brought the Jacks back within four moments later, but could climb no closer before going into halftime trailing, 40-33.

The Jacks hung tough, chipping away at the deficit until a 10-2 run capped by a pair of Dillon free throws gave SDSU its first lead of the second half, 58-57, with under nine to play.

Purdue Fort Wayne responded, however, to take back the lead soon after. The Jacks would pull even three more times down the stretch and within one inside the final 15 seconds, but could not complete the comeback.

Game Notes

South Dakota State is 20-7 at The Summit League Championships and 21-14 all-time against Purdue Fort Wayne
Noah Freidel's 35 points are the most by a freshman in Summit League tournament history.
Alex Arians now has five career double-doubles.

Up Next
South Dakota State will learn its postseason hopes Sunday, March 15. The Jackrabbits have qualified for the postseason each of the last eight years with five NCAA Tournament trips, two NIT bids and one CBI appearance.