Tellinghuisen gains experience vs. Zags

South Dakota State guard Reed Tellinghuisen (23) pass the ball past Gonzaga guard Josh Perkins (13) during the second half of a first-round men's college basketball in the NCAA Tournament Thursday, March 16, 2017, in Salt Lake City. Gonzaga defeated South Dakota State 66-46. (AP Photo/George Frey)

SALT LAKE CITY — South Dakota State was looking to make history Thursday in becoming the first-ever No. 16 seed to knock off a No. 1 to open the NCAA Tournament.

While the Jackrabbits were unsuccessful in their quest, former East Sac County star Reed Tellinghuisen and company didn’t go away quietly.

South Dakota State (18-17 overall) gave the Bulldogs (33-1) everything they could handle for the better part of 35 minutes before bowing out, 66-46. Gonzaga now meets Northwestern on Saturday in the second round.

Tellinghuisen finished with six points, but was just 2 of 12 shooting from the floor and 1-for-10 from the three-point line. As a team, SDSU shot 31 percent and missed 15 of 20 three attempts.

“They had hands up every time we were taking shots,” Tellinghuisen said during the post-game press conference. “They did a good job of being physical with us, and not letting us have open cuts. Credit to them.”

Entering the game averaging almost 12 a night, Tellinghuisen drew the attention of the Zag defense. The 6-foot-7 junior is a career 37 percent shooter from long range and almost 42 percent from the field.

“Gonzaga is a great defensive team,” he said. “I shot 1 for 10 from three (Thursday). That’s not good at all. You’ve got to give them credit. They held us to 31 percent the whole game, and that’s got to be close to the lowest we’ve been held all year.

“You’ve got to give credit where credit is due. They did a great job.”

The Jackrabbits started the year slow but caught fire over the last month-plus, winning the Summit League title to earn a second consecutive bid to the NCAA tourney. Under first-year head coach T.J. Otzelberger, they definitely left a lasting impression on Gonzaga leader Mark Few.

“That was a confident, well-coached, tough team,” Few said. “They were one of those teams that came here on a roll.”

South Dakota State held a lead for the first 17 minutes of the game before the Bulldogs found openings. Gonzaga earned the 129th win by a No. 1 seed in 129 games against No. 16 seeds.

“When you go through adversity with guys like you have on your team, Michael (Orris), Mike (Daum), all those guys, all my teammates are great guys. It means a lot,” Tellinghuisen said. “We build such close relationships fighting through that stuff. And we’re going to carry those relationships throughout our whole lives.”