Douglas Wilson's return was the spark South Dakota State needed, as the Jackrabbits opened Summit League play with an 83-77 win over Western Illinois Friday night in Frost Arena.
The reigning Summit League Player of the Year, Wilson posted a game-high on 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting. A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Wilson logged 26 off the bench after missing the previous four games.
Luke Appel tied his career high, scoring 16 points while grabbing five rebounds. Baylor Scheierman added 16 points, nine boards and four assists for the Jacks (7-3, 1-0 in the Summit League).
Adam Anhold posted a career-high 16 points to lead the Leathernecks, who fell to 2-8 overall and 1-3 in league play.
SDSU needed a boost after seeing Western Illinois jump out to a 7-0 lead. The Leathernecks maintained a 20-14 edge with 8:55 left in the half before the hosts turned it on.
The Jacks scored on 12 straight possessions, compiling runs of 7-0 and 14-0 amid a 21-2 onslaught that propelled SDSU to a 41-28 halftime advantage.
Another flurry opened the second stanza, as SDSU scored on six straight trips and led 54-32 with 16:41 left.
Trailing by 17 entering the game's final 10 minutes, the Leathernecks rattled off 20 of the next 25 points, coming within two at the 1:41 mark. SDSUs Luke Appel converted a layup off Wilson's feed, and after a Leatherneck turnover, the Jacks finished things at the free throw line.
Making up for a subpar night at the line, State hit on 9-of-10 in the final 41 seconds to secure the win. The Jacks finished 18-of-27 at the free throw stripe.
SDSU only committed eight turnovers while forcing 15, compiling a 21-7 advantage in points off turnovers.
South Dakota State and Western Illinois meet again Saturday at 7:30 in Frost Arena.
SDSU women also win Summit opener
South Dakota State women's basketball opened Summit League play with a 71-61 win over Western Illinois Friday night at Frost Arena, giving head coach Aaron Johnston his 500th career win.
The Jacks (8-2, 1-0), shot 38.8 percent from the field, scored 25 points off turnovers and outscored Western Illinois 36-26 in the paint.
Myah Selland led all scorers with 16 points, recorded six rebounds and three assists. Paiton Burckhard scored 13 points, pulled down five rebounds and dished two assists. Tylee Irwin added 12 points, three rebounds and two assists. Tori Nelson finished with 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds, while Lindsey Theuninck scored eight points, recorded five rebounds and dished three assists.