Szu Yao Sun posts first career double-double, but men's basketball falls to No. 25 Northern State

Jake Russo (33) on defense during Sunday's loss to No. 25 Northern State.
Jake Russo (33) on defense during Sunday's loss to No. 25 Northern State.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The NYIT men's basketball team got in an early hole and lost to 25th-ranked Northern State, 79-51, on Day 2 of the Pentagon Showcase.

After completing the two-day event against elite Division II competition, the Bears now head from South Dakota to New York via Denver overnight.

The tournament originally had been scheduled to be held in San Juan, but was relocated to the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls as Puerto Rico recovers from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.

"This has been a very well-run event — high class," NYIT coach Kevin Hamilton said. "I can see why the Division II national championship is here. We still care for and feel for the people of Puerto Rico, but this place was amazing. I think our kids are really getting the benefit of seeing what big-time basketball is about."

Northern State built a double-digit lead 6 minutes, 2 seconds into the game. The lead swelled to 22-7 two minutes later.

NYIT clawed within 24-16 on a three-point play from Tyler Ancrum later in the first half. But the Bears never got any closer and trailed by as many as 23 points before halftime.

Freshman Szu Yao Sun produced career highs with 16 points and 14 rebounds and had his first career double-double in the loss. Kieran Hamilton, returning from a one-game absence, contributed 10 points.

NYIT shot only 30 percent from the field (18-for-60), including 2-for-15 from three-point range.

It was the largest margin of defeat suffered by NYIT since a 100-69 loss at the District of Columbia on Feb. 8, 2015.

The Bears (2-3) return to action Wednesday in a doubleheader with the women's team at Concordia (N.Y.)