Tecker Ready For Ball State Rematch
VERMILLION, SD — South Dakota looks to avenge its 62-51 loss to Ball State when it hosts the Cardinals at 7 p.m. Saturday inside the DakotaDome. The two programs are completing a home-and-away series separated by finals week on campus. The Coyotes (4-6) want to end a two-game skid while the Cardinals (4-4) are in search of their first road win of the season.
The star in game one for South Dakota was Steve Tecker, a 6-foot-5 junior guard from Brule, Wis., who knocked down six shots, tied his career high of 15 points and had seven rebounds. Tecker was held scoreless in his prior three games, but had 11 first-half points against Ball State in a contest tied 26-26 at halftime.
“It helped that the first shot I took went in and I built momentum from there,” said Tecker. “I regained some of the confidence I’d lost the last couple of games. Something wasn’t there then, but this last game I got it back.”
Tecker was 6 of 11 from the field, but his teammates combined to shoot 29 percent as the Coyotes posted their lowest point total of the season. Solid defense kept USD within three points of the lead with less than two minutes to play, but the Cardinals’ Jauwan Scaife scored the game’s final seven points and led Ball State with 14.
“We stopped their big guys for the most part by keeping it packed inside,” said Tecker. “We just didn’t shoot the ball well. If we shoot better and rebound, we will have a good chance to win this game.”
Ball State out-rebounded South Dakota 48-30 and managed to scrap 15 offensive boards. Majok Majok, a 6-foot-9 junior forward, had 16 rebounds to go with nine points. Chris Bond stands 6-foot-4, but had 11 points and 11 rebounds against the Coyotes.
“Effort makes up for a lot of height,” said Tecker. “We have to work hard.”
No one could question Tecker’s effort. He has undergone three hip surgeries to both sides of his torso in order to prolong his playing career. His first surgery followed his freshman year at Northwestern High School. His second came during his senior year. The third followed his freshman year at USD.
“The pain has been coming back a little bit,” said Tecker. “I’ve been feeling a lot of stiffness after practice and games so it has been on my mind some and it’s been affecting me a little bit. I try to put it in the back of my head just to get through this season so I can keep playing.
“Only a limited number of doctors perform the surgery. They said I couldn’t have any more following the third one because it is too brittle in there and they don’t want to take too much bone off.”
If the hip bone is regenerating itself and causing more bone-on-bone contact, there is not much Tecker can do. If it is inflammation as he hopes, he can stretch and ice among other things to reduce the swelling.
“We really appreciate his efforts,” said USD head coach Dave Boots. “No one likes to play this game in pain and it is a tough game to play when you are not at 100 percent. He has battled through it and given us everything he has.”
In spite of the surgeries while in high school, Tecker’s potential was felt by a number of college basketball programs and he was ready to commit to one before USD garnered his attention.
“They (USD coaching staff) wanted me,” said Tecker. “I visited and I liked it here so I came.”
“Steve is such a quality player that we knew if they (doctors) could fix the problem, it was going to be a good reward for both of us,” said Boots. “He has certainly had his moments.”
Tecker has played in 69 of South Dakota’s 71 games the last three seasons. He has earned 12 starts and stands six points shy of 400 for his career. He is a 48-percent shooter (50 percent this season) and is the team’s fifth-leading rebounder through 10 games.
“Hopefully my hips won’t bother me tomorrow and I will come out shooting well again,” said Tecker.
Courtesy: University of South Dakota