South Dakota suffers first loss South Dakota was handed its first loss of the season with a 75-73 setback to Minnesota State-Mankato last Saturday.
The Coyotes, 17-1 overall and 8-1 in the NCC, travel to Nebraska-Omaha and Northern Colorado Friday and Saturday, Feb. 4-5.
Prior to MSU-Mankato, the Coyotes posted a 73-63 win over St. Cloud State.
The Coyotes trailed MSU-Mankato, 32-31 at halftime, but in the second half USD took a 49-42 advantage at the 11-minute mark. However, the Mavericks came on strong sparked by 3-point field goals. MSU-Mankato connected on five long-range shots within a five-minute span for a 6-point lead of 61-55 with 3:49 to play. The Coyotes came within 2 points on three occasions with the last time being the final score.
USD shot 52.0 percent for the game (26-50), including 56.0 in the second half. The Mavericks hit 50 percent for the game (23-46). Each team notched 28 rebounds. Free throws were a big difference with the Mavericks going 20-for-25 and the Coyotes making 10 of 17.
Ben Ries paced the Coyotes with 20 points, followed by 15 points apiece for Nathan Blessen, Jeremy Kudera and Jason Barrow. Kudera led in rebounds with seven and Nate Tibbetts finished with 11 assists. Against St. Cloud State, the Coyotes led 37-28 at halftime, but saw their lead dwindle to 54-51 with 8:43 remaining in the game. However, USD took control and opened up a 16-point spread at 72-56 with 1:50 showing.
USD had four players in double scoring figures led by Ries, who had 20 points and five 3-pointers. Blessen and Barrow had 17 points apiece and Kudera finished with 10. Tibbetts dished out 11 assists and he had five steals.
The Coyotes shot 43.6 percent and were outrebounded, 39-33. Barrow topped USD with 11 boards. St. Cloud State shot 39.7 percent.