Bulls Head South in South Dakota

February 18, 2012 Updated Feb 18, 2012 at 10:44 PM EDT

By WKBW Sports

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Bulls Head South in South Dakota

February 18, 2012 Updated Feb 18, 2012 at 10:44 PM EDT

BROOKINGS, SD – (UB Release) The University at Buffalo men’s basketball team couldn’t shake a sluggish start and lost to a very good South Dakota State, 86-65, in a Sears BracketBuster matchup at Frost Arena on Saturday afternoon.
South Dakota State (22-7) never trailed and shot nearly 50 percent from the field. Nate Wolters, the nation’s sixth leading scorer, was as good as advertised. The junior guard finished with 22 points, six rebounds and eight assists to help the Jackrabbits stay perfect at home this season.
"South Dakota State took us to the woodshed today,” head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. “We weren't physical at all. We weren't aggressive enough. They did a good job of spreading us out and doing what they do best. We didn't take them to the glass, pound it inside and do what we do best. In the end, when that happens, it's bad for Buffalo."
Mitchell Watt hit a pair of free throws with 7:04 left in the first half to make the score 21-18 in favor of the Jackrabbits. However, South Dakota State held the Bulls to without a point for over four minutes and was able to extend its lead to 31-18. The Jackrabbits led, 38-26, at the break.
Uncharacteristically, Buffalo did a poor job on the boards in the first half, getting outrebounded, 23-14, over the first 20 minutes. South Dakota State pulled down eight offensive rebounds and scored 10 second chance points.
Zach Filzen hit back-to-back three-pointers to cut the SDSU lead to 48-40 with 13:22 left. However, the Jackrabbits responded with consecutive treys of their own to regain a 14-point advantage and silence the UB threat.
South Dakota State shot 61 percent in the second half, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. The Jackrabbits also had a huge advantage at the free throw line, shooting 25-of-31 from the charity stripe compared to just 7-of-11 for the Bulls.
Watt finished with 15 points and eight rebounds to lead UB. Filzen had 13 points, including three three-pointers. Tony Watson also knocked down three treys en route to 11 points.
Buffalo (16-8) did a much better job in the second half, shooting 53 percent from the field and outrebounding SDSU, 17-12. But it was enough to overcome the slow start.
Buffalo will return home on Wednesday night to host Ohio at Alumni Arena.