Coyotes earn 80-69 win over Morningside The No. 4 ranked South Dakota men's basketball team (21-3, 14-2 in the NCC) rode 61 percent shooting in the second half to claim a hard-fought 80-69 North Central Conference win over Morningside (16-8, 10-6 in the NCC) at a packed Allee Gym in Sioux City, IA.
"We knew it wasn't going to be easy. We wanted to come in business like and play very hard," said Coyote head basketball coach Dave Boots. "It was a great win."
"Everybody played their hearts out tonight," Coyote senior forward Jeremy Kudera said. "We played great defense and shot the ball pretty well against a good team."
Kudera had 23 points, seven rebounds and knocked down five of 11 3-point baskets.
Jimmie Foster, the Coyotes' leading scorer at 15.1 per game, played a key role by scoring 24 points and hitting several big shots in the second half. On the night, he scored 24 points, making eight of 14 shots from the field. He made three of five 3-pointers and five of six free throws. He also had three assists and two steals in 36 minutes of action.
Junior guard Paul Marshall chipped in a pair of 3-pointers (five attempts) and had 11 points for South Dakota. Jason Barrow added 9 points and six rebounds.
South Dakota opened the scoring when Barrow hit a 3-pointer for a 3-0 lead. That score was answered quickly on a 3-pointer by Morningside's Jay Menke to give the Mustangs a 5-3 lead.
South Dakota did not regain the lead again until Kudera hit a 3-pointer to give the Coyotes a 14-13 lead. A Foster lay-up a few seconds later extended the lead to 16-13.
The Coyotes built a 22-17 lead after Foster hit a pair of foul shots. Then, the Mustangs took off on a run, scoring 7 unanswered points to take a 24-22 lead.
Kudera hit a 3-pointer to quell the Morningside run and give the Coyotes a 25-24 lead. But the Mustangs received a 3-pointer from Derek Paben for a 27-25 lead. Morningside maintained control of the lead for the remainder of the half, jumping ahead 36-30 when Andrew Drevo hit a 3-pointer. Then Scott Hansen, who gave the Coyotes 15 minutes of solid basketball off the bench, hit a 3-pointer with 52 seconds left in the half as the Coyotes went into the break trailing 36-30.
"It was important for us to stay close at half. To be down by just three at the break was a big thing," Boots said.
In the opening half the Coyotes were 11 of 25 from the field for 44 percent, including seven of 17 3-point baskets for 41.2 percent. South Dakota made all four of their free throws in the opening 20 minutes. Foster had 10 points and Kudera added 9 in the opening stanza.
Meanwhile, the Mustangs hit 13 of 27 shots for 48.1 percent and were five of 11 from 3-point range for 45.5 percent. They hit all five of their free throws. Morningside, who held a slim 12-10 rebound advantage, received 10 points from Paben and Drevo in that opening half.
Early in the second half, Drevo scored inside to give Morningside a 38-35 lead. The Coyotes regained the lead, 43-42, when Kudera hit another 3-point basket. Then Morningside took off on a 5-0 run to move ahead, 47-43, after Paben hit a 3-point basket. Paben scored 19 points on the night, including five 3-pointers.
From that point, the Coyotes took control of the game. A lay-up by Marshall tied the game at 47-47. Then after the teams exchanged baskets, Hansen hit his second 3-point basket to give the Coyotes a 55-54 lead. The Coyotes never trailed again.
A Kudera 3-point basket upped the Coyote lead to 60-54. Then Kudera hit a jumper and two free throws as the Coyotes maintained a 64-57 lead.
Morningside's Matthew Schneiderman scored inside to cut the lead to 64-61. But Barrow scored inside and Foster knocked down a big 3-point basket for a 69-61 lead. The Mustangs drew to within 69-65 when Schneiderman made a pair of free throws. Kudera again answered the charge by making a pair of free throws for a 71-65 lead.
Foster followed with a lay-up and another 3-point basket as the Coyotes extended the lead to 76-68. Then, Kudera made two more free throws to give the Coyotes a 79-69 lead with 37 seconds to play and with those shots helped lead the Coyotes to their 17th win in their last 22 games vs. Morningside.
The Coyotes, who hit 16 of 26 second half shots for 61.5 percent, made 27 of 51 field goals for 52.9 percent for the game. They were 14 of 29 from 3-point range for 49.3 percent. They also made 12 of 15 free throws for 80 percent.
Morningside, which held a 35-25 rebound advantage, hit 23 of 56 field goals for 41.1 percent and were nine of 25 from 3-point range for 36 percent. They hit 14 of 15 free throws for 93.3 percent. Drevo had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead Morningside. Schneiderman had 19 points and nine rebounds.
For the Coyotes, ranked No. 1 in the North Central Region entering this weekend's action, the win allowed them to clinch at least a tie for first in the NCC. But the Coyotes have work to do with a road trip ahead against St. Cloud State and Minnesota State-Mankato, both who are playing solid basketball.
While the Coyotes have clinched at least a tie for their third consecutive league crown, one win in their final two games assures the Coyotes of hosting the NCC Postseason Tourney. The winner of the tournament gains an automatic berth in the NCAA Division II playoffs.