Coyotes drop 85-72 to South Dakota State

Coyotes drop 85-72 to South Dakota State South Dakota State's Jamie Nelson (54, at left) and USD Coyote Jason Barrow battle for rebound possession in Jan. 26 basketball action between the two rival teams in the DakotaDome. The outcome of the game wasn't pleasant to USD fans. The first-place Coyotes fell to rival South Dakota State University, 85-72. USD shot a season-low 30.6 percent, connecting on just 19 of 62 field goals against the Jackrabbits. The first-place Coyotes fell to rival South Dakota State, 85-72, in men's North Central Conference basketball Jan. 26 at the DakotaDome.

No. 6 ranked South Dakota (15-3, 8-2 in the NCC) shot a season low 30.6 percent, connecting on just 19 of 62 field goals against the Jackrabbits. The Coyotes, who were averaging 9.81 3-point field goals per game, hit just six of 31 from 3-point range for a meager 19.4 percent.

And despite the fact that the Coyotes hit 28 of 41 free throws, they missed five one-one opportunities from the foul line as South Dakota struggled all night on the offensive end.

Meanwhile, South Dakota State (16-2, 8-2 in the NCC), who are ranked No. 10 in NCAA Division II, had a solid offensive night, hitting 26 of 48 field goals for 54.2 percent. They hit four of 15 3-point field goals for 26.7 percent and 29 of 38 free throws for 76.3 percent.

Early on, SDSU gained control of the game, similar to what they did against the Coyotes at Brookings on Dec. 30. Two inside scores plus two free throws on technical fouls on the Coyote bench gave the visitors a 6-0 lead less than a minute into the game. The Coyotes drew within 8-5 when senior point guard Nate Tibbetts hit a free throw. Then SDSU took off on a 14-2 run to grab a 22-7 lead.

SDSU maintained a double-digit lead for the rest of the game.

The Coyotes fought back to 26-14 as Paul Marshall knocked home a 3-point basket for the 18th straight game. But from that time on, SDSU regained control, outscoring the Coyotes, 20 to 8, to grab a 46-22 lead at the break.

The Coyotes were outshot and outrebounded in the first half, which were keys as the Jackrabbits grabbed a huge halftime lead. The Coyotes made just seven of 26 field goals for 26.9 percent, and were just two of 12 from 3-point range for 16.7 percent. The Coyotes hit just six of 13 free throws for 46.2 percent. Marshall had 6 points to lead South Dakota.

While the Coyotes struggled from the field, SDSU hit 14 of 27 field goals for 51.9 percent. While they hit just two of eight from 3-point range, they made 16 of 21 free throws for 76.2 percent. And, the Jacks controlled the boards, winning that battle 25-14 in the opening stanza. Schantz had 11 points and Josh Cerveny added 10 points to lead SDSU.

Down 24 points at the break, the Coyotes made a couple of runs at the visitors but the lead was too large for the Coyotes too overcome on this evening.

A three point basket by Jason Barrow brought the Coyotes within 54-37 but the Jacks used their strong inside game to keep the Coyotes at bay. An inside score by Cerveny gave SDSU a 59-39 lead. A few minutes later, a jumper by junior forward Eric Hickenbottom cut the SDSU lead to 61-47, but the Coyotes could not sustain their comeback.

Two free throws by Chris Stoebner of SDSU moved the lead to 66-47. Once again the Coyotes cut into the lead, pulling within 66-50 when senior forward Jeremy Kudera hit three free throws. SDSU answered and grabbed a 72-51 lead when Andy Moeller hit a pair of free throws for the Jacks.

Both teams basically traded baskets for the next several minutes before the Coyotes mounted a late charge to draw within 81-67 when Barrow hit a free throw. A tipin with two-seconds by Hickenbottom finished the scoring as the Coyotes fell, 85-72.

Kudera led the Coyotes with 15 points and eight rebounds, hitting three, 3-point baskets. Also for the Coyotes, Barrow had 11 points and eight rebounds. Marshall had 12 points and Jimmie Foster added 10 points. Hickenbottom added 8 points and seven rebounds with a blocked shot. Travis James had a career-high 6 points for the Coyotes.

Cerveny, who finished with 23 points and five rebounds, led the Jacks. Ryan Johnson added 13 points and sophomore guard Austin Hansen chipped in with 12 scores. Schantz finished with 11 points.

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