Slow start doesn’t hurt Coyotes in 91-68 win

Slow start doesn't hurt Coyotes in 91-68 win It took The University of South Dakota Coyotes some time to get control, but they used a sparkling second half offensive show to go with their tough defense to down the big, rugged University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs 91-68 before a small, chilly crowd Dec. 14 in the DakotaDome.

The Bulldogs, now 5-5, a young team with some size and ability, forced to play without their injured high-scorer Jake Nettleton, gave USD, now 8-1 on the year, all they wanted in the opening half. They outshot USD 43 percent to a lowly 38 percent (far below the Coyotes' 53 percent shooting average for the first eight games) and trailed just 37-34 at the break.

For the Coyotes it was a two-man show in the opening 20 minutes. Senior post man Jason Barrow scored the first 5 USD points, then gave way to a 6-point burst by junior Jimmie Foster before coming back to score 6 more in the first nine and a half minutes. Barrow added another field goal and three free throws for a 16-point first half while Foster put two more field goals through the hoop for 11 first half points to account for 27 of USD's 37 halftime points.

On the other side of the court, the Bulldogs also had a pair of good halftime performances. Junior guard Ben Raymond (6-6) scored the first 8 points for the visitors and 6-8 junior Chris Stanley had 12 first half scores, six of them coming on a pair of 3-pointers in the final 42 seconds, the last one at the buzzer.

The Coyotes, with seniors Jeremy Kudera and Nate Tibbetts contributing, kept in the game in the opening minutes of the second half, but the pesky Bulldogs stayed right on their back. With 13 minutes to go in the game a Richard Ross tip-in countered by a J.G. Bradley bomb put the USD lead at a scant 50-47 as the crowd started to murmur, but then the strength of the Coyotes began to show. Three Barrow free throws and a trey by Paul Marshall (his lone 3-pointer in the game in 10 tries after burning the nets for 24 in his first 37 shots this year) set the Coyotes in motion.

In the next nine and a half minutes, USD outgunned UMM 32-9 to go ahead 82-56 with three and a half minutes to go, and the Coyotes had wrapped up their eighth win of the young season and their fourth one-sided victory in a row after being upset by Southeastern State.

The run was started by freshman Ross, who ended the game with 8 points, and contributed to by another coming star, freshman Steve Anderson, Rapid City all-stater who scored 9 points. The five USD starters, Barrow, Foster, Tibbetts, Kudera and Marshall, all helped in the game-ending spurt.

USD shot a strong 62 percent in the second half to end with an even 50 percent from the field in the game, while the Coyote defense held Duluth to 39 percent in the second period and an acceptable 41 percent for the game. USD also won the defensive battle from the bigger Minnesotans 39-35, with Barrow and Kudera grabbing game highs nine and eight.

Tibbetts, gaining on all-time career marks in both assists and in steals, added to his impressive totals last night, dishing out 10 assists and making three steals. He is now third in assists and fourth in steals.

The Coyotes' next game will be on Dec. 29 in Sioux Falls when they meet the Augustana Vikings at Elmen Gym on the Augie campus, followed by the annual contest with South Dakota State's Jackrabbits at Brookings the next night.

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