USD improves winning streak with home sweep South Dakota improved its winning streak to eight games with a North Central Conference home sweep over Augustana (87-69) and South Dakota State (94-91) Saturday and Sunday in the DakotaDome.
The Coyotes moved to 10-1 overall and 2-0 in the NCC. USD travels to Northern Colorado and Nebraska-Omaha on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 2-3.
The Coyotes trailed South Dakota State, 39-38, at halftime.
In the second half the Jackrabbits led by six points twice with the last time being 62-56 with 12:54 remaining. SDSU led 82-81 with 3:04 left, before the Coyotes took the lead for good at 83-82 on two free throws by Anestis Tsakalaidis with 2:51 showing.
With 50 seconds left the Coyotes assumed a 90-85 advantage on a three-point field goal from Joey James. USD then converted four of six free throws during the final seconds to hand the Jackrabbits their second straight conference loss.
James led the Coyotes with a career-high 28 points, including 21 in the second half. James was 9-for-10 from the field and 8-for-9 from three-point range. The eight three-pointers tied a USD school-record first set by Mike Graves against North Dakota State in 1990.
At one point in the second half between the 17:56 and 10:15 marks, James connected for five three-pointers, including three in succession during a crucial time that kept the Coyotes close when SDSU was looking to extend a pair of six-point leads.
South Dakota had a balanced attack with six players in double scoring figures. Jason Barrow had 14 points with 13 apiece for Jeremy Kudera and Kory Petzenhauser. Tsakalaidis finished with 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds,while Nathan Blessen added 10 points.
USD shot 54.4 percent from the field and SDSU hit 53.6 percent. The Jackrabbits were 26-for-29 from the free throw line and at one point they were 20-for-20. USD was 14-for-26 from three-point range and for the season the Coyotes are averaging almost 10 three-pointers per game.
South Dakota shot 56.9 percent against Augustana, including 62.1 in the first half as the Coyotes took a 52-37 lead at halftime. Tsakalaidis led USD with 17 points. Eric Rawson finished with 15 points with all his field goals being three-pointers. Kudera tallied 11 points, followed by Barrow with nine and Blessen with eight. Nate Tibbetts had seven points and five assists with six points apiece for Petzenhauser, James and Ben Ries. Kudera and Barrow paced the Coyotes in rebounds with five apiece.