THIS WEEK: Dakota State (15-11 overall record) attempts to bounce back in the winning column as they conclude their regular-season schedule with a pair of road games versus former Dakota Athletic Conference members. The Trojans visit Black Hills State (9-13) on Friday night. Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m. (Central Time)/7:30 p.m. (Mountain Time) from the Donald E. Young Gymnasium in Spearfish, S.D. On Saturday night, DSU travels to the King Center to play South Dakota Mines (14-11). The starting game time is set for 7 p.m. (CT)/6 p.m. in Rapid City, S.D.
LAST MEETING: Dakota State recorded their first sweep over Black Hills teams on the same weekend (Jan. 20-21) for the first time since 2005 (Jan. 28-29). The Trojans defeated Black Hills State 79-70 on Jan. 20. DSU shot 57.7 percent in the second-half after trailing at halftime by one-point (33-32). Dakota State outscored South Dakota Mines 44-19 in bench points and outrebounded the Hardrockers 45-18 in the game for Trojans' 85-69 victory on Jan. 21. The Trojans went on to a 39-29 halftime lead and never looked back.
LAST TIME OUT: The Trojans suffered a pair of losses against members of the Great Plains Athletic Conference last week. On Feb. 7, Dakota State overcame a slow start and rallied back in the second-half at Morningside, but the Trojans fell short in closing minutes as the Mustangs earned a 69-62 victory. DSU fell short in their home regular-season finale on Feb. 11 versus Midland 68-65 at DSU Fieldhouse. Midland grabbed a 10-point halftime lead, then the Trojans were able to trim their deficit to two points on two occasions and fell short.
TOUGH SCHEDULE: Dakota State's 28-game regular season schedule included seven teams that are ranked from the NAIA's 'Top 25'-five of them against 'Top 10' teams. In addition, the Trojans faced NCAA Division II teams six times this season, including University of Sioux Falls, Black Hills State and South Dakota Mines. Dakota State is 3-1 versus NCAA Division II teams, suffering their only loss at University of Sioux Falls on Jan. 17. The Trojans are 9-6 at home, 5-5 on the road and 1-0 on neutral site this year.
HISTORY LESSON: The Trojans recorded its double-digit wins for their third straight seasons (13 wins this season, 15 in 2010-11 and 11 in 2009-10) for the first time since the late 1980's and early 1990's. Dakota State recorded six straight seasons of double-digits wins, starting in 1988-89 (10 wins). The Trojans had 17 wins in 1989-90, 20 in 1990-91, 19 in 1991-92, 14 in 1992-93 and 1993-94. After the victory versus University of Sioux Falls on Feb. 4, DSU had their first back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in more than 20 years. Dakota State is seeking their 16th (or more wins) for the first time since 1992, the year when DSU was the 'Cinderella' team that went to the NAIA 'Final Four' in Stephenville, Texas.
RECORDS: Dakota State is 4-2 each against teams from South Dakota and former Dakota Athletic Conference foes this year. Black Hills State is 1-5 versus in-state teams, defeating at South Dakota Mines 76-60 on Jan. 24 in Rapid City, S.D. The Yellow Jackets are 2-4 against former DAC teams, defeating Dickinson State and Minot State at home. South Dakota Mines own a 4-3 record versus former DAC members and 1-5 versus South Dakota teams (with their only win come from Oglala Lakota 119-70 on Dec. 15).
A.I.I. BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT: DSU will be hosting the 2012 State Farm Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) Basketball Tournament on the last weekend of February. The tournament kicks off on Friday, Feb. 24 with a No. 4 seed versus No. 5 seed match-up at 8 p.m. The semifinals take place on Saturday, Feb. 25, starting with the No. 3 seed versus No. 2 seed at 5 p.m. with the Friday's game winner facing No. 1 seed at 7 p.m. The winner of Saturday's game will advance to the championship game on Sunday, Feb. 26 (each team will receive an automatic bid to the national tournament in Point Lookout, Mo. on March 7-13).
DSU RANKS NATIONALLY: According to the DakStats-NAIA statistical website as of Tuesday, Feb. 14, Dakota State ranks 28th in the nation in field goal percentage defense (42.4 percent), 29th in scoring defense per game (67.8 points per game and 41st in total rebounds per game (37.0). The Trojans are 42nd in the nation in total rebound margin (+2.8) and offensive rebounds per game (12.0). DSU is 45th in assists per game (14.4) and 46th in field goal percentage (45.3 percent). Dakota State ranks 47th in scoring margin (+4.4), 49th in turnover margin (+0.6) and 50th in total assists (374).
QUICK LEADERS: Jesse Bean leads the team in scoring with an average of 13.8 points per game. He shoots 44.7 percent from the field. Bean averages 2.6 assists (66 total). Keith Biggers records 147 rebounds (6.4 average) for the Trojans. He ranks 21st in the nation in offensive rebounds per game (3.1). Donald Stewart leads the team in steals with 30 (1.2 average). Spencer Adams records 14 blocked shots this season (0.6 average). Keith Lee ranks 49th in the nation in assist/turnover ratio of 1.9.
STAY CONNECTED: Stay connected with Dakota State men's basketball and athletics all season long at www.twitter.com/DaSUAthletics.
LIVE STATS: Black Hills State will be carrying the live stats for Friday night's game. The link is http://livestats.prestosports.com/blackhills/. There is no live stats/play-by-play for DSU-South Dakota Mines game on Saturday evening.
WEBCAST: There will be an audio webcast for DSU-BHSU game on Friday night. It is available on www.KDSJ980.com and the link will be available on www.dsuathletics.com. There will be a paid live video webcast on Saturday evening for DSU-SD Mines game. Fans can go to http://www.b2livetv.com/partner_members.asp?id=71.
UP NEXT: Dakota State will host the 2012 State Farm Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) Basketball National Qualifying Tournament on Feb. 24-26 at DSU Fieldhouse. The tournament will start on Friday, Feb. 24 with a match-up between No. 4 seed and No. 5 seed. The Trojans will most likely play on Saturday, Feb. 25 with the opponent to be determined on a later date.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director