Offense isn’t absent around college basketball if you know where to look for it.
The more prominent of the two Summit League co-leaders is a good place to start.
South Dakota State star point guard Nate Wolters, better known as a passing maestro, put on his scoring hat on Thursday night, dropping the most points in a college basketball game since 2009. Wolters hung a career-best 53 points on the road against IPFW, the most by a player in a regulation game since former Kentucky scoring ace Jodie Meeks put up 54 four seasons ago. His outburst shattered the school’s single-game scoring record of 44 set by Dave Thomas in 1974. Wolters also eclipsed the program mark for most 3-pointers in a game (8), sinking 9-of-14.
The most impressive part of the senior’s performance? Each bucket mattered. The Jackrabbits narrowly edged the Mastodons, 80-74, relying on eight points from Wolters in the game’s final minute — a backbreaking trey to pull ahead by four and a pair of perfect trips at the line — to survive. Wolters scored 14 points in the final 2:33, evening up the score with a contested triple and putting SDSU up for good with a trey on the ensuring possession.
By no mistake was Thursday night’s showstopper a stat-padding effort — the kind for which Division III guard Jack Taylor will forever be famous. Wolters was highly efficient (17-of-28 FG), his points wholly relevant. Although he took as many shots (28) as the rest of his team combined, Wolters made almost twice as many. The father Jackrabbit shot 61-percent from the field. His baby bunnies, just 32-percent.
Wolters’ point total is the highest this season by a Division I player, bettering a 47-point performance by Oakland’s Travis Bader notched last month against IUPUI. South Dakota State will get its second look at Bader and the Golden Grizzlies on Saturday in Oakland, where the program has never won. The Jackrabbits won the first meeting between the two teams earlier this year.
A pair of 22-point per game scorers, Bader and Wolters may duke it out in the scoring department. Both players were prolific, but inefficient the first time they met in Brookings. Wolters, however, may not oblige. He has a new plateau on his mind:
South Dakota State’s all-time assists record, from which he’s just four away.