University men split games; to host North Dakota teams South Dakota has a two-game lead in the NCC heading into a pair of crucial home games with North Dakota State and North Dakota this Friday and Saturday.
NDSU and UND are tied for second in the NCC standings with 6-4 records.
The Coyotes fell to 18-2 overall and 9-2 in the league after falling short to Northern Colorado last Saturday in Greeley, CO, 84-82. USD came into the game following a 76-60 win over Nebraska-Omaha on Friday.
USD led Northern Colorado, 37-35, at halftime and it remained close in the second half. The Coyotes managed to open up the game's biggest lead of 7 points at 50-43 with 16:17 left to play.
However, the Bears came back and took a 6-point margin at 56-50 at the 12:43 mark. UNC led, 78-72, with 3:52 remaining before the Coyotes rallied for an 81-80 lead with 1:06 showing.
But, the Bears scored with 52 seconds left for an 82-81 advantage and the Coyotes were forced to foul. UNC hit two free throws with 22 seconds left for a 3-point lead and the win.
The Coyotes, who shot 47.4 percent from the floor, missed 10 free throws going 15-for-25. UNC hit 45.2 percent from the field and the Bears were 19-for-23 from the charity stripe.
USD, which was outrebounded, 38-36, was led by Ben Ries with 19 points. He was 6-for-10 from the field � all from 3-point range. Nathan Blessen had 18 points, followed by Jeremy Kudera with 15 and 14 for Jason Barrow. Barrow was tops in rebounds with nine and Nate Tibbetts handed out seven assists.
South Dakota shot 59.2 percent from the field en route to the win over Nebraska-Omaha. The Coyotes hit 60.9 percent from the floor in the first half for a 35-24 intermission lead.
USD, which outscored the Mavericks, 41-36, in the second half, held Nebraska-Omaha to only 32.3 percent shooting for the game.
The Coyotes were led by Kudera, who tallied a career high 25 points. He was 9-for-13 from the field, including five 3-point field goals. Blessen had 18 points and he led USD in rebounds with eight.
Seth Ahrendt came off the bench and scored 10 points. Barrow had 7 points with 6 apiece for Tibbetts and Ries. Tibbetts finished with 18 assists � three short of the school record.