Mike Daum says this has been a season to remember, both for him and his teammates.
South Dakota State is heading to the NCAA tournament, where it will take on No. 1 seed Gonzaga at 1 p.m. Thursday on TBS.
Daum said there were a lot of ups and downs in his team’s 18-16 season but it ended on a high note. SDSU stopped UNO to win the Summit League tournament and earn the automatic bid, the team’s fourth in the past six years.
Gonzaga (32-1) won the regular-season and tournament championships in the West Coast Conference.
Daum, a 6-foot-9 sophomore from Kimball, played a huge role this year. He was named the Summit League player of the year and enters the NCAA tournament averaging 25.3 points and 8.2 rebounds. His scoring average and 861 total points this season rank second in NCAA Division I, and have allowed him to rise to No. 15 on SDSU’s career scoring list with 1,379 career points with two seasons of eligibility remaining.
He’ll be a focus for the Zags, who are allowing 61.2 points per contest (No. 8 in NCAA Division I) while limiting opponents to 36.8 percent from the field and 30 percent shooting beyond the arc (also No. 8 nationally).
Daum praised his coaches for molding the team and leading it to the tournament, which he said is a spectacular accomplishment. He’s excited to do his part.
“It’s easy to do what I do when I love it,’’ he said, “and love the people involved with it.”