The points finally made an appearance in Sioux Falls. The Summit League has been known for its offense this season, but the first two quarterfinal games on Saturday failed to see a team reach at least 80 points. Things normalized Sunday, with three teams reaching or exceeding that mark. Here's a rundown of the action as chalk reigned.
(4) South Dakota State 83, (5) Denver 73
The Pioneers had the Jackrabbits right where they wanted them, at least for few minutes. But a 7-4 start by Denver would prove to be the Pioneers' largest lead of the game, as SDSU ran out to a seven-point half time advantage and never really looked back. Mike Daum had 21 points in the opening frame, while the star opposite him, Denver center Daniel Amigo, was held to just two points on one-for-seven shooting.
Amigo would score just six points total, as SDSU's zone gave Denver fits for the second consecutive game. The teams met in Brookings on Feb. 26 in a 24-point Jackrabbits' win. The games didn't look much different, with Denver failing to get easy looks at the basket and Daum (who finished with 33 points) scoring at will.
Defense has been SDSU's soft spot, but that may be changing as a thrilling semifinal match up with South Dakota looms. Since Feb. 1, the Jackrabbits have held opponents to 1.02 points per possession or less five times, a number far below their season average. They'll now contend with a Coyote team that they've split with this season in two close games.
Denver finishes the season on a four-game losing streak, but showed promise in Rodney Billups' first season coaching his alma mater. The entire rotation could return, led an imposing paint presence in Amigo, and C.J. Bobbitt, who scored 16 points against SDSU.
(3) Omaha 84, (6) Fort Wayne 80
Sunday summed up the Mastodons' season in a neat 40-minute package. It started with plenty of promise, as John Konchar and Brent Calhoun fueled Fort Wayne to a nine-point half time lead. But it ultimately ended in disappointment, with Omaha bursting out with a 51-point second half to erase that deficit and pick up a close win.
Marcus Tyus (14 points, 5 assists) was instrumental for the Mavericks as they trailed 80-78 with under two minutes left. He tied the game with two free throws, and then drew attention driving into the lane to set up a Tre'Shawn Thurman dunk that gave Omaha the lead for good. This was the first Summit Tournament win for the Mavericks since they joined the league in 2012.
They now meet an IUPUI team in the semifinals that they split with in the regular season, most recently falling to the Jaguars at home on Feb. 8. The offensive glass could be pivotal. IUPUI is the Summit's best offensive rebounding team, while Omaha's frenetic pace and lack of size makes it vulnerable in that area.