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Monday, December 19, 2011
South Dakota State has a star, signature win

By Diamond Leung

South Dakota State went to Washington to play in one of the most difficult road environments in the Pac-12 and won by 19 points.

The Jackrabbits' star guard, Nate Wolters, drew comparisons to Jason Kidd and Steve Nash after the game from Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar.

It was a win by South Dakota State that had at least one Washington player apologizing to the fans.

Yes, all of this adds up to another embarrassing on-court episode for the struggling Pac-12, but also, give credit to South Dakota State for throttling one of the conference's perennial NCAA tournament teams.

"All losses are bad losses, all wins are good wins, but I think for program and its notoriety, this is certainly one of our best wins at the Division I level," South Dakota State coach Scott Nagy told reporters. "You can play with confidence, but we really shot it today, and when you shoot it, it really smooths over everything."

The Jackrabbits are doing it with Wolters, who ranks 10th in the nation in scoring (21.5 ppg) after putting up a 34-point, five-rebound, seven-assist and no-turnover performance against the Huskies. A junior from St. Cloud, Minn., Wolters has been good for a while now in relative anonymity. He averaged 19.5 points as a sophomore.

Washington entered the game with a 32-game winning streak in nonconference games at home, where the noise can be intimidating. South Dakota State responded by making its first seven attempts from 3-point range and shooting 59 percent from the field in the first half.

The Jackrabbits are now 10-4, coming up with their biggest win after being routed by North Dakota three days earlier, during which Wolters scored 24 points. They were picked in the preseason to finish third in the Summit League, but with Wolters, they have their sights set on much more.