Coyotes improve NCC mark

Coyotes improve NCC mark South Dakota improved its North Central Conference-leading mark to 9-2 with a home sweep over Nebraska-Omaha, 85-66, and Northern Colorado, 80-61, Jan. 29-30 in the DakotaDome.

The Coyotes moved to 17-3 overall.

USD broke open a close game with Nebraska-Omaha. The Mavericks led, 19-18, with 9:47 left in the first half before

the Coyotes took charge. USD proceeded to outscore UNO, 25-17, for a 43-36 halftime lead.

Early in the second half, UNO rallied for a 47-44 deficit, but the Coyotes went on another run and built a 20-point cushion at 80-60 with 3:49 remaining. South Dakota shot well hitting 58.5 percent, including a torrid 54.5 from three-point range hitting 12 of 22.

USD also excelled at the free throw line going 11-for-12. USD, which outrebounded the Mavericks, 35-27, landed five players in double scoring figures led by Nathan Blessen with 21 points. Kory Petzenhauser had 20 points, five rebounds and five assists. Ben Ries tallied 15 points with all of his field goals coming from three-point land.

Jeremy Kudera finished with 14 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, while Joey James notched 11 points, six assists and two steals.

Much like the Nebraska-Omaha game, the Coyotes started slow against Northern Colorado. The Bears held the lead 15 times in the first half, including a 20-18 margin at the 8:22 mark. USD used two free throws apiece by Blessen and Petzenhauser for a 22-20 lead and the Coyotes never trailed again.

USD eventually opened up a 10-point advantage at 35-25 with 3:16 showing en route to a 38-30 halftime cushion.

The Coyotes, who led by as many as 23 points in the second half, were paced by Blessen and Kudera with 20 points apiece. Petzenhauser had 15 points and Anestis Tsakalaidis finished with 10.

USD outrebounded the Bears, 37-30, with Kudera pulling down a career-best 12 boards. The Coyotes shot 49.0 percent and were again effective from three-point range, hitting 11 of 22 for 50 percent. USD shot well from the free throw line,too, making 19 of 23 for 82.6 percent.

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