Too many first-half mistakes to overcome.

That, in a nutshell, explains the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons’ loss to South Dakota State, 70-61, Saturday night at the Allen County Memorial Coliseum.

The Jackrabbits, true to their name, raced out to a 26-8 lead as the Mastodons struggled at both ends of the floor.

SDSU hit 10 of their first 13 shots as the ‘Dons scrambled defensively, often looking confused in rotations and surrendering open looks for a Jackrabbit team riding a three-game winning streak.

Offensively, PFW couldn’t find the range, especially on three-point attempts, and trailed 40-20 at the half.

It was too much to overcome…but the ‘Dons gave it a shot.

A more engaged defensive effort led to SDSU turnovers and the Mastodons chipped away. They got it down to 12 off an 11-2 run at 47-35, but then SDSU answered scoring seven of the next 11 points to lead 54-39 with 10 minutes left.

Then another Mastodon run, cut it as close as 63-57, but a huge three-pointer by David Wingett, who finished with a career-high 21 points, gave SDSU some breathing room and the Jacks held on.

Purdue Fort Wayne ended the night just 4-26 on three-pointers, 15.4%, while SDSU hit 9-18.

After South Dakota defeated Omaha earlier Saturday, the ‘Dons had the chance to move into a first-place tie in the Summit League standings. The loss leaves them at 2-2 (9-10 overall), a game and a half behind South Dakota State.

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