The victory was big for South Dakota State (5-7) as it came against a Belmont squad that entered the game with its daily RPI of 22 and a victory over No. 18 North Carolina on its resume.
The Jackrabbits opened the second half shooting 9 of 11 from the floor to lead 59-43 with 13:08 remaining and held their largest advantage at 65-46 before Belmont answered with an 18-6 run to cut the deficit to 71-64 with 4:43 to go.
The Jackrabbits made 9 of 12 free throws to hang on for the win. Bittle added six steals and four assists and Cody Larson had 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Craig Bradshaw led Belmont (8-3) with 17 points and 3-of-3 3-point shooting.
Former Kentucky guard Ed Davender, the only Wildcat with at least 1,500 points and 400 assists, has died. He was 49.
Guard Naz Mitrou-Long, whose 2015-16 season ended in December due to hip problems, has been granted a hardship waiver for the coming season, Iowa State said.
As the Sooners look to life without superstar Buddy Hield and his sidekicks, it's clear their unseasoned players will need to grow up fast.
|Southeast Missouri State||2-14||8||5-24|