Coyotes hold off Morningside 77-73 The University of South Dakota men's basketball team (14-2, 8-1 in the NCC) received strong performances from its three seniors in holding off visiting Morningside College (11-6, 5-4 in the NCC), 77-73, in North Central Conference basketball Saturday night at the DakotaDome.
South Dakota, which retained first place in the NCC with an 8-1 mark, received 22 points from senior forward Jeremy Kudera, including seven of 10 from 3-point range.
Kudera's seven 3-point baskets were just one away from a school record and he now has 185 3-point baskets in his Coyote career. Kudera also grabbed seven rebounds.
Senior center Jason Barrow just missed a double double with 18 points and nine rebounds. His presence inside was a key factor in the Coyote win. He hit seven of 14 field goals.
And, record-breaking senior point guard Nate Tibbetts set a new Coyote school record in career assists. He dealt out nine assists to move into first place with 599 career assists. He set the Coyote single season mark a year ago with 216.
Both teams shot the ball extremely well Saturday night. The Coyotes hit 27 of 49 field goals for 55.1 percent and Morningside made 30 of 54 for 55.6 percent. Led by Kudera, the Coyotes hit 10 of 19 (.600) 3-point baskets and the Mustangs hit six of 15 for 40 percent.
The Coyotes were less torrid from the free throw line making 13 of 21 for 61.9 percent and Morningside was seven of 11 for 63.6 percent.
After the Coyotes jumped to a 2-0 lead on a lay-up by Barrow, the Mustangs answered with consecutive 3-point baskets from Heath Orvis for a 6-2 lead. A 3-point basket by Kudera then gave the Coyotes an 11-10 lead.
Matt Schneiderman hit a jumper to give the Mustangs a 17-13 lead with 13:48 left in the half. The Coyotes answered with a 7-2 run, as Barrow scored inside for a 20-19 lead.
The Coyotes moved ahead 27-22 when Steve Anderson scored on an offensive rebound and putback. Morningside hung tough, grabbing a 30-29 lead at the 1:42 mark on a jumper by Derek Paben.
Lay-ups by Jimmie Foster and Paul Marshall gave the Coyotes a 33-32 lead at the break.
In the opening half, the Coyotes hit 13 of 26 field goals for 50 percent, including four of nine (.444) from 3-point range. Foster had 11 points and Kudera added 9 to lead South Dakota. The Mustangs also hit 50 percent from the field, connecting on 14 of 28 shots. They were three of eight from 3-point range.
Both teams traded baskets early in the second half before the Coyotes went on a 5-0 run to grab a 42-36 lead. Kudera hit a 3-pointer to key the Coyote charge. Once again, the Mustangs pulled within 42-41 when Schneiderman knocked home a 3-point basket.
The Coyotes answered with an inside basket from Barrow and a lay-up by Tibbetts for a 48-43 lead. A little over a minute later, Marshall hit a 3-point basket as the Coyotes grabbed their largest lead of the game, 53-45.
A lay-up and free throw by Justin Van Meeteren pulled Morningside within 55-50 before the Coyotes took off an another run.
South Dakota outscored Morningside, 8-0 to move ahead 63-50 at the 7:56 mark of the second half.
The Mustangs then took off on a 15-1 run to grab a 65-64 lead at the 3:31 mark. Paben hit a jumper to give Morningside its first lead since the opening seconds of the second half. Another Paben jumper and a free throw moved the margin to 68-65.
But the Coyotes rallied with a 3-pointer by Marshall to tie the game and another 3-pointer from Kudera to grab a 71-68 lead. A free throw by Tibbetts gave the Coyotes a 72-68 lead.
Morningside's Dusty Wadlington drove inside for a lay-up with 40 seconds left as the Mustangs cut the lead to 72-70. However Morningside was forced to foul and free throws by Kudera and Marshall gave the Coyotes a 75-70 lead with 18 seconds left.
Two foul shots by junior guard Eric Hickenbottom gave the Coyotes a 77-70 lead with five seconds left. Wadlington hit a 3-point basket with three seconds left.
The Coyotes received 14 points from Marshall. Foster had 13 points and four steals. The Coyotes won the rebound battle, 30-28.