USD retains lead in NCC with win over Bison

USD retains lead in NCC with win over Bison On a few occasions this season, the #18 ranked South Dakota men's basketball team has experienced trouble maintaining big leads.

On Saturday night, South Dakota (13-2, 7-1 in the NCC) once again opened up a big halftime lead and fought off the charge of their opponents.

The Coyotes, who led by 20 points early in the second half, made several crucial plays down the stretch in taking an 84-72 win over the North Dakota State Bison in North Central Conference basketball at the Bison Sports Arena in Fargo.

The win over NDSU gave South Dakota a 7-1 mark and sole possession of first place in the NCC.

Against NDSU, junior forward Jimmie Foster was a key contributor as he tallied 28 points, including a clinching dunk with 14.5 seconds to play. Foster made 11 of 17 field goals, including a pair of 3-point baskets. He also had three rebounds, three blocked shots and two assists.

Foster has now hit double figure scoring in 12 of 15 games, including seven a row.

Paul Marshall had 16 points, including 14 in the first half. Jason Barrow had 11 and Nate Tibbetts had 10 points and six assists.

"We played really well in a lot of stretches and overall played good basketball," said Head Coach Dave Boots.

As was the case against North Dakota the night before, the Coyotes jumped to a big first-half lead. The Coyotes jumped in front 18-7 at the 13:22 mark when Marshall hit his second 3-pointer in the opening seven minutes of the game.

Freshman forward Steve Anderson knocked home a 3-pointer and South Dakota led 21-8. But the home-standing Bison outscored the Coyotes 11-2 to draw within 23-19 at the 7:24 mark.

Denver TenBroek, who had a game-high 31 points, keyed the Bison charge with three consecutive 3-point baskets. But the remainder of the half belonged to the Coyotes, who outscored NDSU, 23-8 to close the half.

South Dakota led 44-27 at the break. The Coyotes shot a torrid 65.4 percent in the opening half by connecting on 17 of 26 field goals, including eight of nine 3-point baskets for 88.9 percent.

The Bison struggled from the field, connecting on just nine of 26 field goals for 34.6 percent. They were six of 15 from 3-point range for 40 percent.

After South Dakota grabbed a 53-33 lead on a offensive rebound and score by Barrow, NDSU began their charge back into the game. The Bison closed the gap to 60-51 when TenBroek hit a 3-point basket from the right corner.

A short time later, Kudera hit a 3-point basket to move the margin back to 13 points (66-53). The Bison answered on a 3-point basket from guard Ben Nemmers and two free throws by Scott Majkrzak to draw within 66-58.

But the Coyotes held their composure, scoring inside and converting free throws. A driving baseline lay-up by Tibbetts gave South Dakota a 71-60 lead. With less than two minutes to play, the Bison again charged at the Coyotes, cutting the lead to 77-72 as TenBroek hit four free throws.

That was as close as NDSU would get as the Bison were forced to foul and the Coyotes hit just enough free throws to maintain a comfortable margin.

With 14.5 seconds left, Foster put the game away (84-72) on a dunk and free throw after being fouled.

Overall the Coyotes hit 29 of 49 field goals for 59.2 percent, including 10 of 14 3-point baskets for 71.4 percent. The Coyotes were 16 of 23 from the free throw line for 69.6 percent.

For the 15th straight game both Marshall and Kudera had a 3-point basket. Kudera had 7 points, seven rebounds, two assists and a steal. Tibbett's six assists gave him 126 on the season.

NDSU improved their shooting in the second half, converting 14 of 25 shots for 56 percent. For the game they were 23 of 51 from the field, including 11 of 27 (40.7 percent) from 3-point range. The Bison hit 15 of 17 free throws for 88.2 percent. NDSU won the rebound battle, 28-26.

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