Tibbetts puts USD back in first place

Tibbetts puts USD back in first place Senior point guard Nate Tibbetts is known for his ability to distribute the ball, but in the South Dakota men's basketball team's 71-68 overtime win over North Dakota on Friday night, it was his shooting that saved the day.

South Dakota (12-2, 6-1) moved into first place in the North Central Conference when Tibbetts banked in a 3-point basket with 3.5 seconds to play in overtime at Hyslop Sports Center.

Tibbetts, who scored 11 points, handed out nine assists and grabbed seven rebounds, scored the 3-pointer with one second left on the shot clock as the Coyotes rallied in overtime for the win.

The senior point guard played all 45 minutes of the game despite troubles with a back and development of a cramp just before his offensive heroics. With 40 seconds to play in overtime, the Coyotes called timeout when Tibbetts experienced cramps. But, Tibbetts was in the lineup when the Coyotes put the ball into play.

Then, South Dakota worked the clock down and Tibbetts hit the 3-pointer with one second on the shot clock as the Coyotes won their fourth straight at the Hyslop Center.

Early on, it was all South Dakota as they jumped to a 10-0 lead on the strength of 3-point baskets by senior forward Jeremy Kudera and junior shooting guard Paul Marshall. Two foul shots gave the Coyotes a 14-2 lead.

The Coyotes increased the lead to 19-4 with 9:15 to play in the half as Kudera again hit from long range. A 3-point basket by freshman guard Jeff Brandt with 7:47 to play pulled the Fighting Sioux within 19-9.

Again South Dakota answered when freshman forward Steve Anderson hit a 3-point basket for a 22-9 lead. A jumper by Marshall moved the lead to 26-13. Two free throws by UND's Jerrid Sebesta cut the lead to 26-16 but the Coyotes answered in kind.

The Coyotes closed the first half on a 6-0 run as Tibbetts hit a jumper, two free throws and a lay-up for a 32-16 lead.

South Dakota hit 11 of 20 field goals for 55 percent in the first half, including four of eight 3-point baskets. The Coyotes were six for six from the foul line.

North Dakota experienced a tough shooting first half as they made just six of 28 field goals for 21.4 percent. They were one of 13 from 3-point range for 7 percent and three of five from the free throw line for 60 percent.

North Dakota, who came into the game unbeaten in NCC play and undefeated this season at home, improved their shooting in all aspects during the second 20 minutes. After junior forward Jimmie Foster scored on a lay-up for the Coyotes and a 34-16 lead, the Sioux began their charge.

A 3-pointer by Brandt cut the Coyote lead to 37-22. Another Brandt 3-pointer cut the Coyote lead to 40-28. Brandt kept firing and his 3-pointer cut the Coyote lead to 9 points at 47-38 with.

South Dakota shook off that charge and moved back on top 52-38, when junior forward Eric Hickenbottom, who had 7 points, scored on a lay-up. Once again the Sioux fought back. They moved within 54-44 on a pair of foul shots by Kyle Behrens, who had 14 points and seven rebounds on the night.

The Coyotes regained a 12-point lead when senior center Jason Barrow scored on a lay-up. Back came North Dakota when Nigel Jenkins put in a lay-up as the Sioux drew within 56-49. The Coyotes' lead shrunk to 56-52 after Behrens hit one of two free throws.

Marshall hit a 3-pointer with 3:48 to play and the Coyotes seemed safe with a 59-52 lead. Behrens and Brandt both connected on a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 59-56 with 2:15 left. Then Hickenbottom scored on a jumper for a 61-56 lead with 1:43 left.

However, the Coyotes failed to score for the remainder of the game and the Sioux went on a 5-0 run to tie the game at 61-61. Behrens hit a jumper and then Brandt again connected from downtown to tie the game with :39 seconds left.

In overtime, North Dakota took their first lead of the game at 64-61 on a lay-up and free throw by Jenkins. Kudera answered with a jumper to cut the Coyote deficit to one, 64-63.

Then Jenkins knocked home a 3-pointer for a 67-63 lead. Hickenbottom gave the Coyotes' hope with a 3-pointer. A lay-up by Foster with 57 seconds left in the game gave the lead back to South Dakota, 68-67. On the next Sioux possession, Kudera picked up his fifth foul and Behrens knocked down one of two free throws to tie the game and set up Tibbetts' offensive heroics.

South Dakota hit 26 of 54 field goals for 48.1 percent, including 10 of 23 3-point baskets for 43.5 percent. The Coyotes were nine of 13 from the free throw line for 69.2 percent.

Marshall led South Dakota with 16 points, including four 3-pointers in six attempts. He and Kudera, who had 12 points and six rebounds, have now hit 3-point baskets in all 14 games this season. Foster added 11 points and five rebounds while Barrow had 11 points and four rebounds. Both teams had 35 rebounds.

North Dakota hit 12 of 24 second half shots for 50 percent, including six of 12 3-point baskets. Overall, UND made 20 of 58 field goals for 34.5 percent. They hit eight of 28 3-point field goals and 20 of 24 free throws for 83.3 percent. Brandt had 21 points to lead the Fighting Sioux. Jenkins and Tom Jacobson had 10 points.

The Coyotes are now 2-0 in overtime games this season.

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