2022 NCAA Tournament: Providence outlasts South Dakota State in first round action
Photo: Joshua Bessex/Getty Images

Fourth seed Providence earned a hard-fought 66-57 victory over 13th seed South Dakota State in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament at KeyBank Center in Buffalo.

Al Durham and Noah Horchler led the Friars (26-5) with 13 points each. Durham also had eight rebounds and a game-high six assists. Ed Croswell chipped in with nine rebounds, six of them on the offensive end.

"This was a major challenge", said head coach Ed Cooley. "This is the most connected group i've been around in 28 years of coaching and I think we responded every single time after a loss.

"We responded with a win and I thought the response was great. This team has an 'it' factor."

The 57 points allowed was the fewest Providence has ever given up in an NCAA Tournament game as they picked up their first win in March Madness since 2016.

Baylor Scheiermann led South Dakota State (30-5) with 18 points and 10 rebounds as the Jackrabbits saw their 21-game winning streak, the nation's longest and a school record, come to an end.

Story of the game

Both teams came out looking to run and that was evident as the first eight-plus minutes went by without a stoppage. After a pair of baskets by Nate Watson gave Providence a 7-3 lead, South Dakota State responded with an 8-0 run.

The Jackrabbits turned cold from the floor, going six minutes without a basket as the Friars led 24-19 with five minutes to play in the first half. They extended the lead to 31-23 at halftime behind Durham's nine points, five rebounds, and three assists. 

South Dakota State, the only team in the country to shoot over 50 percent from the floor, 40 percent from three-point range and 70 percent from the free-throw line, went the final three minutes of the first half without a point.

With 16:22 left in the game, Justin Minaya knocked down a jumper to give Providence their first double-digit lead of the contest at 40-29 and after Horchler added a triple, the Jackrabbits called a timeout.

Out of the timeout, the Summit League champions responded with an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to 43-37. Jared Bynum responded with a key basket from long range to bring the lead back up to 50-39.

Leading 56-47 with under four minutes left, the Big East regular-season champions saw South Dakota State make one final push, cutting the deficit to 56-53. 

Still in front 60-57 after a bucket by Scheiermann, Bynum drew a foul on a three-point attempt with 29 seconds remaining and canned all three free throws to ice the game for the Friars.