USD men fall 75-66 to Southwest State

USD men fall 75-66 to Southwest State The No. 9 ranked University of South Dakota Coyotes men's basketball team had a 30-game non-conference winning streak snapped Dec. 1 in a 75-66 loss to Southwest State at the Hardee's/Coca-Cola Classic.

Southwest State (4-4) overcame a 32-30 deficit on the hot second-half shooting performance of Jacob Fahl, who scored all of his 16 points in the second stanza. Fahl hit seven of nine second-half shots to lead Southwest State to their first win over a top-10 ranked opponent since 1995.

USD (4-1) received 18 points from senior forward Jeremy Kudera and 13 points from junior guard Paul Marshall.

"They made a lot of tough shots," said USD head coach Dave Boots during a post-game interview. "We had a hard time stopping them in the second half. They certainly are a good team. We just didn't shoot the ball very well.

"We weren't getting good looks at the baskets and certainly 20 turnovers is not indicative of our team," he continued. "We were not able to step up and get it done. Now, we have to iron some things out quickly."

Southwest State jumped to a 4-0 lead (18:45) in the opening minutes of the game before Marshall knocked home consecutive 3-point shots to give USD a 6-4 lead at the 18:04 mark. In the see-saw battle, the Coyotes took a 15-12 lead at the 11:32 mark of the first half on a 3-point basket by junior guard Eric Hickenbottom that was preceded by a dunk by junior Scott Hansen off a feed from senior guard Nate Tibbetts.

A basket by freshman Richard Ross gave USD a 24-22 lead at the 5:11 mark. Later Kudera hit a pair of free throws and Southwest State's Jared Miller had a basket in the closing seconds as the Coyotes led 32-30 at the break.

There were seven ties during the first half of play as Marshall's 8 points helped the Coyotes take a halftime lead over an opponent for the fourth time in five games this season. Southwest State's Scott Koenen had 10 first-half points.

The Coyotes' lead was short-lived as Southwest State, the preseason NSIC conference favorite, opened the second half with a 9-2 run for a 39-34 lead at the 16:46 mark. USD answered with an 11-4 run and took a 45-43 lead on a 3-point basket by Marshall at the 13:11 mark. Three-point baskets by Miller, who scored 15 points on the night, and Adam Tesch plus a jumper by Josh Preusse gave the Mustangs a 53-47 lead that the tournament host Mustangs kept for the remainder of the night.

Southwest State opened up a 63-56 lead at the 4:14 mark of the second half. Kudera knocked home a 3-pointer to cut the margin to four at 63-59 with 3:55 to play, but the Coyotes had trouble scoring in the final minutes. Two free throws by Miller gave the Mustangs a 69-61 lead with 1:38 to play and the Coyotes were forced to foul. Two free throws by Marshall with 14 seconds left accounted for the final margin of 75-66.

USD made 22 of 48 (.460) field goals, nine of 26 (.350) 3-point baskets and 13 of 19 (.680) free throws. Tibbetts had 9 points, six assists, three rebounds and two steals for USD, who also got 9 points, nine rebounds and four assists from senior Jason Barrow.

USD won the rebound battle 32-30. Southwest State improved their shooting from 42 percent (13 of 31) in the first half to 63 percent (17 of 27) in the second half to shoot 52 percent (30 of 58) for the game.

On the night, the Mustangs hit five of 11 (.460) 3-point baskets and 10 of 16 (.620) free throws. Scott Koenen had 13 points and seven rebounds, and Chad Koenen had 12 points and six rebounds for the Mustangs.

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