December 21, 2010

SDSU defeats CMU at buzzer 72-69

MOUNT PLEASANT - Central Michigan rallied in the second half only to see a 69-69 tie turn into a 72-69 loss as Nate Wolters hit a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer for South Dakota State.

The Chippewas (2-9) tied the Jackrabbits (8-3), 69-69, with eight seconds remaining when Amir Rashid drove across the lane and made a left-handed runner over a SDSU defender.

Without taking a timeout, Wolters dribbled up-court and hit a 26-footer as the horn sounded, handing the Chippewas their sixth straight loss of the season.

The Chippewas trailed by 13 at the half, 37-24, before rallying with a 19-8 run to start the second half, capped by a steal and finish by senior William McClure. Wolters extended the lead back to three, 52-49, with 9:10 in the second half before Finis Craddock knocked down his third three-point field goal of the second half at the 8:10 mark to tie the game for the first time, 52-52.

"I just really came at our guys about playing with confidence [at halftime]," head coach Ernie Zeigler said. "We've been so uptight at home, for whatever reason, and that's probably been the best we've shot the ball since the Temple game. Don't get gun shy. You have to take shots to make shots. We got some opportunities in transition and we were able to convert those and finish for layups."

The Maroon and Gold were able to use a full-court press effectively during the second half, forcing 10 turnovers. The Jackrabbits finished with 19 turnovers in the game, 10 more then they average on the season.

The teams continued to battle back and forth, exchanging the lead or tying the ball game 13 times over the last 8:10.

The Jackrabbits jumped out to a 27-14 lead in the first half before the Chippewas went on a 6-0 run on two free throws by Colin Voss, a layup by Antonio Weary and two more free throws by Jalin Thomas. SDSU extended its lead back to 13 before the break on a driving layup by Wolters at the 49 second mark.

Craddock, earning his first start of the season, finished the game with a career-high 15 points, including 3-of-6 shooting from downtown. Thomas finished the game with 15 points and four rebounds, while Trey Zeigler scored 10 points and pulled down six rebounds to give the Chippewas three scorers in double figures.

"[Craddock] just played with confidence," Zeigler said. "He has the ability to score in transition and the ability to get to the basket and make plays for himself and others. He hit a couple threes and he had a couple of really good drives as well and was able to score. Hopefully it's something we can get him to sustain."

McClure tallied nine points off the bench, while Rashid added eight as the Chippewas' bench outscored SDSU 23-14.

Wolters finished with a game-high 25 points for the Jackrabbits, including 9-of-13 shooting from the free-throw line and six assists. contributed 19 points and [db]Chad White scored 12 points to give SDSU three scorers in double figures.

CMU will be back in action on Wednesday night as part of a basketball doubleheader with the women's program. The men will take on Cornerstone at 7 p.m. after the women take on Wichita State at 1 p.m. in McGuirk Arena.

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