USD men pad NCC lead with 68-52 win

USD men pad NCC lead with 68-52 win The South Dakota men's basketball team (20-3, 13-2 in the NCC) rolled to a 68-52 win over the North Dakota Fighting Sioux Feb. 10 at the DakotaDome.

South Dakota's win and a 90-82 loss by South Dakota State to Augustana on Saturday provides the Coyotes with a two-game lead in the NCC race.

The Coyotes received double-figure scoring from four players. Junior guard Paul Marshall, junior forward Jimmie Foster and junior forward Scott Hansen all scored 11 points for South Dakota, while senior point guard Nate Tibbetts added 10 points and eight assists to lead the Coyotes.

The Coyotes struggled in the early going as North Dakota opened up a 4-0 lead on two baskets by Kyle Behrens of UND, who had 21 points on the night. South Dakota finally scored when Foster hit a pair of foul shots.

Those shots began a 9-0 run by South Dakota which included a lay-up by Tibbetts, two foul shots by Jason Barrow and a 3-point goal by Scott Hansen, whose shot gave the Coyotes a 9-4 lead.

UND's Jeff Brandt answered with a 3-point basket to draw the visitors within 9-7. Then, the Coyotes took off on another 10-0 run as Tibbetts hit a 3-pointer and a lay-up for the 19-7 lead. UND fought back with a 7-0 run of their own, capped by a lay-up by Curtis Munlin to close the gap to 19-14.

Again the Coyotes moved ahead 25-16 when Foster hit a jump shot. A lay-up by junior forward Eric Hickenbottom gave the Coyotes a 27-17 lead. Two free throws by Behrens and another 3-point goal by Brandt cut the gap to 27-22. South Dakota's Hansen hit a 3-point basket with 16 seconds left in the half but Tom Jacobsen nailed a jumper to pull UND within 33-26 at the break.

In the opening half, the Coyotes hit 11 of 34 shots for just 32.4 percent and were just four of 12 from 3-point range. South Dakota hit seven of 10 free throws in the first half. North Dakota hit just 10 of 25 shots for 40 percent and were just two of seven from 3-point range for 28.6 percent. They were four of seven from the free throw line. Behrens had 14 points to lead the Fighting Sioux in the opening half.

South Dakota came out on fire in the second half, outscoring UND, 14-2 in the opening seven minutes. A 3-pointer by Marshall gave South Dakota a 41-28 lead. Then Kudera had a pair of foul shots and an inside basket and Marshall had two free throws as South Dakota built a 47-28 lead. The Coyotes increased their advantage to 51-31 when Marshall hit a jumper.

The Coyotes opened up a 58-36 lead on a 3-point basket by Hansen. Two foul shots by Behrens cut the lead to 59-42, but Jeremy Kudera hit a 3-pointer and the Coyotes had a 62-42 lead. North Dakota ended the game on a 10-6 run but the issue had already been settled. A 3-pointer by Corey Sheplee of UND closed the scoring with 10 seconds left to play.

Overall, South Dakota hit 22 of 58 shots for 37.9 percent and was nine of 22 from 3-point range for 40.9 percent. They hit 15 of 21 free throws for 71.4 percent. Kudera had 7 points and eight rebounds while Barrow had 8 points and six rebounds. Besides his 11 points, Marshall had a career-high seven rebounds.

Hansen added six boards for South Dakota that won the rebound battle, 45-30. South Dakota had 13 offensive boards, including three by Kudera.

North Dakota was just 19 of 52 from the field for 36.5 percent and hit only five of 20 3-point field goals for 25 percent. They were nine of 14 from the foul line for 64.3 percent. Behrens was the only double-figure scorer for the Fighting Sioux, who received 9 points and four rebounds from Brandt. Munlin added 8 points.

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