Coyotes fall to Wayne State in North Central tourney The South Dakota men's basketball team finished the season with a 22-6 record after losing to Wayne State in the semifinals of the North Central Region Tournament last Friday in Denver, CO.
Wayne State, which lost to the Coyotes in the Quad State Classic in the first game of the season, shot 60.6 percent in the first half en route to a 55-37 halftime lead.
USD, which hit 53.8 percent during the first 20 minutes, rallied in the second half and outscored the Wildcats, 46-31.
USD faced a 20-point deficit at 59-39 with 17:30 left, and eventually battled back for a 1-point margin at 80-79 with 3:19 to play. However, the Wildcats regained the lead and held on at the end.
The Coyotes, who shot 48.3 for the game, were led by Nathan Blessen and Jeremy Kudera with 21 and 20 points, respectively. Eric Hickenbottom had 16 points and Ben Ries finished with 11. USD held a 34-33 edge in rebounds paced by Blessen's nine boards.
South Dakota, the North Central Conference champion with a 13-5 record, landed three players on the all-North Central Conference team in Blessen, Ries and Kudera.
Nate Tibbetts and Jason Barrow earned honorable mention all-NCC honors. Coyote head coach Dave Boots was named NCC Coach of the Year for the fourth time.