THIS WEEK: The Dakota State men's basketball team (8-2 overall record) returns home for the first time in a month on Friday night. The Trojans welcome No. 19 Bellevue (Neb.) (7-5). Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at DSU Fieldhouse in Madison, S.D.
DECEMBER HOME GAME: Dakota State will play their only home game this month on Friday night. The Trojans were on the road to Martin Luther (Minn.), South Dakota State, Northwestern (Iowa) and Mayville State (N.D.). DSU will play in the Morningside Holiday Classic against members of the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) on the last weekend of December. The Trojans play Briar Cliff (Iowa) on Dec. 28 and host-team Morningside (Iowa) on Dec. 29.
BATTLE OF NAIA NATIONAL TOURNAMENT QUALIFIERS: Both Dakota State and Bellevue qualified for the 2012 NAIA National Division II Men's Basketball National Tournament in Point Lookout, Mo. The Trojans qualified to the national tournament by capturing the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) Division II Men's Basketball Postseason Tournament Champions, defeating Jamestown (N.D.) 80-71. DSU dropped a 69-65 overtime loss to No. 5 McPherson (Kan.), who advanced to the NAIA's 'Final Four', in the NAIA national tournament first round. Bellevue advanced to the national tournament for their 10th straight time last season. The Bruins qualified to the nationals by winning the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference Postseason Tournament. Bellevue defeated Daemen (N.Y.) 58-48 in the NAIA's first round. St. Francis (Ind.) ended Bruins' run in the NAIA's 'Sweet Sixteen' by the score of 61-58.
LAST MEETING: Bellevue won both meetings with Dakota State last season. The Bruins defeated the Trojans 85-65 in the Hampton Inn Classic on Nov. 26, 2011 in Bellevue, Neb. DSU jumped to a 13-7 lead before Bellevue went on a scoring run, gaining a 47-31 halftime lead. The Trojans could get no closer than nine points at 65-56 with 6:21 left, but Bellevue secured the game with a 20-9 closing run. On Dec. 17, 2011 at the DSU Fieldhouse, Bellevue jumped to a 6-0 lead and never trailed in the game as they defeated the Trojans 85-61. With the Bruins leading at 24-21 with less than nine minutes before halftime, BU raced to a 41-24 halftime lead. Bellevue outscored DSU 44-37 in the second-half.
DSU RECEIVES VOTES TO NATIONAL POLL FOR THIRD STRAIGHT WEEK: For the third straight week, Dakota State received votes to the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball Coaches' 'Top 25' national poll, which was released on Dec. 11. The Trojans received four votes to the national poll. Bellevue (Neb.), a member of Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference (MCAC), remained at No. 19 with 160 votes. The fourth-regular season Coaches' Top 25 national poll will be announced on Jan. 8, 2013.
LAST TIME OUT: Dakota State recorded their first Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) conference game of the season on Dec. 15 in Mayville, N.D. The Trojans rallied back from 15-point second-half deficit and defeated Mayville State in overtime thriller by the score of 82-81 at Lewy Lee Fieldhouse. DSU shot a blistering 59.3 percent from the field (32-for-54) compared to the Comets' 50 percent (30-for-60). Bellevue dropped a 74-68 road contest at Oklahoma Wesleyan on Dec. 14 in Bartlesville, Okla. OWU outscored the Bruins 9-3 in the final two minutes of the game to seal the victory. It was the MCAC conference season opener for both teams.
RECORDS: Dakota State currently is 4-1 at home and 4-1 on the road. Both DSU's losses came to nationally-ranked Northwestern (Iowa) of the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC). The Trojans are 6-0 this season while earning a lead at halftime. In addition, Dakota State is 6-0 when they outrebounded their opponents through 10 games. DSU is 4-0 in games decided by four points or less. Bellevue is 3-1 at home and remained winless in two road games this season. The Bruins are 4-2 on neutral sites.
TROJAN DEFENSE RANKS NATIONALLY: According to the NAIA-DakStats statistical website as of Tuesday, Dakota State ranks 11th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage defense (28.5 percent). The Trojans are 21st in defensive rebounds per game (28.2) and field goal percentage (40 percent). DSU allowed its opponents to 65.3 points per game, which is 29th best in the nation.
DSU OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION: Dakota State have five players averaging in double digits through the first 10 games this season. The Trojans rank 10th in the nation in free-throw percentage (74.4 percent). DSU averages 16.8 assists per game, which rank them 14th in the nation. The Trojans are 28th in the nation in field goal percentage (47.1). Dakota State averages 77.6 points per game (37th in the nation). John Lamb averages 3.0 3-point field goals made per game, which is 15th best in the nation. Terrell Newton ranks 15th in the nation in field goal percentage (59.8 percent). Yusuf Vinson is 46th in the nation in free-throw percentage (79.2 percent) and 48th in offensive rebounds per game (2.7).
DSU QUICK LEADERS: Terrell Newton leads DSU's scoring with 14.1 points per game. He records six blocked shots this season. Yusuf Vinson averages 7.9 rebounds per game, which ranks him 41st in the nation. Keith Lee II accumulates 37 assists (3.7 assists per game) for the Trojans. John Lamb leads the team with 15 steals.
WATCH & LISTEN: All Dakota State home men's basketball games will be webcast live on video and audio. There is no charge to the webcast. Fans wanting to follow the action can go to the following link: http://streaming.dsu.edu/Athletics-Live. The link also will be available on www.dsuathletics.com in the 'Live Games' tab above the 'Upcoming Events.'
STAY CONNECTED: Stay connected with Dakota State men's basketball and athletics all season long on www.dsuathletics.com. The Trojans are also on Twitter, just log onto www.twitter.com/GoDaSUAthletics. The Dakota State University Athletics group page can be found on Facebook on https://www.facebook.com/DSUTrojanAthletics.
UP NEXT: Dakota State returns back to action next weekend as they play in the Morningside Holiday Classic. The Trojans face a pair of Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) foes in the classic. DSU plays Briar Cliff (Iowa) on Friday, Dec. 28 at 3 p.m. On Saturday, the Trojans visit the host-team Morningside (Iowa) at 7:30 p.m. All games will be held at RVSC-Allee Gym in Sioux City, Iowa.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director