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    SDSU MBB: Jackrabbits NIT Run Ends at Vanderbilt

    NASHVILLE – Fresh off its first-ever Division I postseason win on Wednesday at Colorado State, No. 8 seed South Dakota State traveled to Nashville, Tenn., on Friday to take on No. 5 seed Vanderbilt, but the Commodores used a 16-0 second half run to secure a 92-77 win in front of a raucous crowd of 5,605 fans at Memorial Gymnasium. 

    The loss ends the Jackrabbits season with a 24-11 overall mark, the 22nd 20-win season in program history. The loss also ends the careers of seniors Zach Horstman and Cody Larson. 

    “I love him, he’s such a tremendous teammate,’ head coach Scott Nagy said of Horstman. “He’s just been such an unselfish guy and done what we’ve asked him to do, and it’s very difficult for me to say goodbye to him.” 

    Nagy also commented about Larson, who led the Jackrabbits with 18 points and 10 rebounds in his final game in a Jackrabbit uniform. 

    “Cody was really good tonight, sharp, got off to a good start, but I don’t even care about the basketball with him,” Nagy said. “The courage that it took to come back and face the people that doubted who he was and what he could do. There’s just no way that anybody can have anything negative to say about him now in terms of what he’s done and how he’s handled himself at South Dakota State and what a good student-athlete he is.” 

    Vanderbilt improves to 21-13, and advances to play on Tuesday at either No. 2 seed Stanford or at No. 3 seed Rhode Island. 

    “They’re a very good offensive team, they really are, but we were so flat in the first half, we played so poorly and it was really a miracle that were only down six at halftime,” Scott Nagy said. “We came out in the second half and played really well, but when a team shoots like that, you’re just not going to beat them.” 

    Vanderbilt won the tip and knocked down a 3-pointer just 13 seconds into the game, but the Jackrabbits answered with a Larson layup on the other end. Jake Bittle forced the first of four tie scores in the first half at 5-5 less than three minutes in, and then Larson gave SDSU its first lead of the game at 7-5 about a minute later, the first of two first half lead changes. 

    The Commodores retook the lead with a Wade Baldwin 3-pointer on the next possession, but the Jacks battled back to force ties at 20, 22 and 24, the last coming with 5 minutes, 44 seconds left in the opening half. 

    Vanderbilt outscored the Jacks 9-3 over the rest of the frame to take a 33-27 lead into halftime, as the Jacks missed their final nine shots of the half. 

    The Jackrabbits came out of the locker room hot, opening the half on a 9-0 run to take a 36-33, and led by as many as four points, but Vandy battled back to force the second of eight second half lead changes to go up 45-44 with 14:24 left. 

    Up 59-57 after a Reed Tellinghuisen 3-pointer with 9:13 left, Vandy went on a 10-0 run to go up 67-59, drawing a timeout from the Jackrabbit bench with 7:17 left in the contest. The run continued after the timeout, reaching 16-0, as the Commodores hit 3-pointers on four straight trips down the floor. 

    Bittle ended that run as well, natting a layup with 5:33 left, but Vandy tacked on a 7-2 spurt to go up 17 at 80-63 with under four minutes to play and never looked back. 

    Larson’s eighth double-double of the season gives him 14 in his career, he also added a block, which gives him 37 on the season, knocking himself out of 10th place at SDSU for a single season. Tellinghuisen added 15 points, all in the second half, while Bittle added 14 and Deondre Parks 10 points in the loss. 

    Baldwin led five Commodores in double figures with 20 points, and tied with Larson for a game-high 10 rebounds. Damian Jones added 15, James Siakam 14, with both Matthew Fisher-Davis and Luke Kornet chipping in 12 points.  ‚Äč

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