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COLLEGE BASKETBALL: South Dakota State holds off Bison men for Summit title, NCAA berth

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- It was a Jackrabbit-kind of day at Sioux Falls Arena. The South Dakota State men defeated North Dakota State 73-67 Tuesday night to win the Summit League tournament and the league's automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.

Earlier, the SDSU women defeated South Dakota for their fifth straight title.

The men's game was the first meeting for a conference tourney title between the two schools since a 1980 North Central Conference clash in Brookings. It was the fifth post-season meeting and the first since a 1996 Division II regional semifinal. SDSU now holds the tournament series lead 3-2.

The history of the Summit didn't favor the Bison going in, with only two No. 3 seeds winning it, the last Wright State (Ohio) in 1993. That's when the league had a much different look and was known as the Mid-Continent Conference.

And this year's history wasn't favoring NDSU after they went to the halftime locker room trailing 29-25. The Bison came in with a 1-5 record when behind at the break.

It could have been a larger spread, and it seemed like a bigger one, if it weren't for Braun being the only player capable of cracking the SDSU defense. He had almost half of his team's offensive production at that point.

He had NDSU's first two points of the second half, but that came after seven straight by the Jacks to open an 11-point advantage. It was 48-36 when Taylor Braun and Mike Felt hit back-to-back 3-pointers to keep NDSU in the ballpark.

The Bison kept swinging. Later, Felt's attempt at a tie bounced off the rim. On other end, Jordan Dykstra's 3-pointer with 4:27 left made it a 60-54 advantage.