BROOKINGS, S.D. — If you told UC Irvine coach Russ Turner his team was going to hold South Dakota State to three baskets from inside the 3-point arc in its season opener, he likely would have been thrilled.
At the same time, if you told him his team was going to be outscored by 27 points from 3-point range while shooting less than 50 percent from the free-throw line and committing 18 turnovers, he would have fumed.
All those scenarios came true Friday night, as the Anteaters lost to South Dakota State 65-54 at Frost Arena.
UCI held the Jackrabbits to 29.8 percent shooting, outrebounded them 50-37, and held South Dakota State’s Mike Daum to 12 points, less than half his average from last season.
But the Anteaters endured their own shooting woes, going 5 for 19 from 3-point range and 5 for 12 from the free-throw line, and Jackrabbits turned those 18 UCI turnovers into 18 points.
While the hosts missed plenty of shots, they went 14 for 35 from the 3-point arc. Freshman David Jenkins led that barrage, going 4 for 8 for a game-high 16 points.
His lone two-point basket, a 17-foot jumper with 3:48 left, gave the Jackrabbits a 57-50 lead.
While the Anteaters used their significant size advantage and zone defense to largely neutralize Daum, who averaged 25.1 points per game last year, Jenkins provided a spark for the hosts.
“We knew as a team they were going to key on Mike, so we knew a lot of other players would have to step up and make plays,” Jenkins told the Argus Leader of Sioux Falls, S.D. “I just feel like we played aggressive.”
The Anteaters swarmed Daum with 6-foot-10 Jonathan Galloway, 6-9 Elston Jones and others, and Turner frequently called out for double-teams on the SDSU post. They held him to 3 for 11 from the field.
“We’re an excellent defensive team and we had a good gameplan,” Turner told the Argus Leader. “We expect to be able to do that against players like Mike Daum. In this game, give their other guys credit. They made the plays…