Coyotes squeak out 70-67 win over UNO

Coyotes squeak out 70-67 win over UNO The South Dakota men's basketball team (17-3, 10-2 in the NCC) retained first place in the North Central Conference with a hard-fought 70-67 victory over Nebraska-Omaha (8-12, 2-10 in the NCC) at the Sapp Fieldhouse on Feb. 2.

South Dakota received a strong performance from senior forward Jeremy Kudera. The senior had 25 points and 10 rebounds, but it was his 3-point basket with 1:35 to play that proved to be the difference against the Mavericks.

For the second time this season, Kudera hit seven 3-point baskets (10 attempts) and made all four of his free throws during 37 minutes of play.

A 3-pointer by Coyote shooting guard Paul Marshall gave the Coyotes an early 3-0 lead but the home-standing UNO team stayed close, drawing even at 8-8 when Darran Miller scored inside. However, the Coyotes outscored the Mavericks, 12-5 to grab a 20-13 lead at the 10:41 mark of the first half.

Two 3-pointers by junior forward Scott Hansen and one by Kudera keyed the Coyote run. But that Coyote burst was matched by a 9-0 run by UNO as the Mavericks grabbed their third lead of the first half at 22-20.

UNO's Eddie King had two baskets and forward Dan Morrow chipped in with a 3-pointer to give the Mavericks the lead. Shortly thereafter, Kudera answered that run with a 3-pointer as the Coyotes regained the lead at 23-22.

Two more 3-point baskets by Kudera moved the Coyotes lead to 31-27. UNO's Seth Nelson and Patrick Voss both hit long 3-point baskets as the Mavericks grabbed the lead at 33-31. South Dakota Junior forward Eric Hickenbottom scored inside with 46 seconds left to send both teams into the locker room, tied at 33-33.

In the opening half, the Coyotes hit 11 of 24 field goals for 45.8 percent and nailed eight of 16 3-point baskets for 50 percent. They hit three of four free throws.

Kudera had 14 points to lead the Coyotes in the first half. Meanwhile, the Mavericks hit just 13 of 37 field goals for 35.1 percent and were five of 11 from 3-point range for 45.5 percent. They hit two of three free throws.

In the second half the Coyotes jumped ahead 41-36 as Kudera hit another 3-point basket. A lay-up by South Dakota's Jason Barrow kept the lead at 5 points, 46-41.

Then the Mavericks outscored the Coyotes, 10-4, to gain a 51-50 lead. A jumper by Nelson, who led the Mavericks with 18 points, put UNO back on top.

During the remainder of the game, neither team was able to gain more than a 4-point lead. South Dakota junior forward Jimmie Foster scored inside and converted a free throw to give the Coyotes a 57-53 lead. But the Mavericks outscored the Coyotes, 7-2, to move ahead 60-59. Morrow put the Mavericks ahead with a 3-point goal.

Foster hit a jumper to give the Coyotes a 65-64 lead. After UNO tied the game at 65-65, Kudera hit the 3-pointer that gave the Coyotes the lead for good with 1:35 to play. A lay-up by Eric Hickenbottom with 25 seconds to play provided the Coyotes with their final margin of victory.

Still, the final seconds of the game provided some tense moments for the Coyotes. During a scramble for a loose ball, Nelson hoisted a 3-point attempt and was fouled with eight seconds left on the clock. However, Nelson proceeded to miss all three shot attempts and the Coyotes prevailed on the road.

South Dakota hit 24 of 45 field goals for 53.3 percent and made 11 of 20 3-point baskets for 55 percent. They hit 11 of 16 free throws. Barrow had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Coyotes while Foster had 9 points. South Dakota senior point guard Nate Tibbetts added 7 points and 11 assists.

UNO hit 25 of 62 field goals for 40.3 percent and they were eight of 21 from 3-point range for 38.1 percent. They were just nine of 21 from the free throw line for 42.9 percent. Morrow added 13 points and Miller had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Mavericks, who won the rebound battle, 39-30.

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