Using a 20-6 run over the final 9+ minutes, the Racers overcame a 14 point second half deficit to defeat the South Dakota State Jackrabbits in the final Ramada Inn Brackbusters game. In the showdown between two of the nation’s top point guards, it was the OVC’s Isaiah Canaan outdueling Nate Wolters in the stat sheet and on the scoreboard.
The Racers jumped out to the early 7-2 lead led by a Dexter Fields three to open the scoring. The Jackrabbits would grab the lead thanks to a 9-2 run to be up 11-9 at the first media timeout. The lead would balloon to 32-18 with 5:17 left in the first half but the Racers would fight back with a 7-0 before going to the half down 39-33 tip-in by Marcus Heemstra.
The Racers shot 43% from the field and once again took a large amount of triples, attempting 14 and only hitting 5. The Jackrabbits would have 4 players with 8 or more points at the break. South Dakota State as a whole shot 52% from the field, and 55% from deep.
The second half began as a continuation of the opening half as the Jackrabbits opened on a 8-0 as they hit two threes in the opening two and a half minutes. The Racers would respond with their own 7-0 run to make it 47-40 at the under 16 media timeout. After Wolters hits a three with 14 minutes left, the friendly arc went away, as they would go 0-5 for the rest of the half as fatigue set in for the Jackrabbits head coach Scott Nagy said after the game.
The Racers would get on a game changing run as Stacy Wilson would get back-to-back dunks and then find Ed Daniel for another slam and that would put that game at 54-53. After a jumper by South Dakota State the Racers would peel off a 20-6 run over the final nine and a half minutes to win the game. During that run it was the All-American Canaan scoring nine of his game high 22pts to help propel the Racers to the victory. Coach Steve Prohm utilized freshmen Jeffery Moss and C.J. Ford for much of the game as both played 14+ minutes and scored.
After the game Nagy said that Wolters was injured with a back injury that occurred in the opening half and that led to him being pulled after Canaan. It can be argued that his injury allowed Canaan to erupt, as Wolters held Canaan to just six first half points.
The Racers exploded for 40 second half points and shot 50% from deep as once again they showed their comeback spirit. The defense came alive forcing 8 turnovers that led to 12 points over the final 20min and held the Jackrabbits to just 23 points and 43% shooting.