USD downed by Huskies 89-76 in championship St. Cloud State (24-5), continuing their late season run, earned an NCAA Division II playoff berth by turning back The University of South Dakota men's basketball team (22-6), 89-76 in the finals of the Wells Fargo/North Central Conference Tournament on Saturday at the DakotaDome.
St. Cloud, who finished tied with South Dakota State for second place in the NCC, defeated the Coyotes for the second time in three meetings this season. The Huskies shot a torrid 60 percent (27-45) from the field, including 63.2 percent (12-19) from the 3-point line.
Leading the way was St. Cloud State's Forrest Witt, who was named the tournament MVP, scoring 27 points against USD and 19 in the Huskies' 74-72 win over South Dakota State on Friday night.
SCSU's Jason Kron, also named to the all-tournament team, led all scorers with 28 points on Saturday night. He made all four of his 3-point baskets against South Dakota.
USD's Jimmie Foster led the Coyotes with 22 points while Nate Tibbetts, who was named to the all-tournament team, scored 20 points and had five assists. USD's Jeremy Kudera, who had 17 points, was also named to the all-tournament team, as was SDSU's Jason Cerveny, who had 21 points and 11 rebounds in the loss to SCSU.
In the opening half, the Huskies shot 63.6 percent from the field, hitting 14 of 22 field goals. In the first half, South Dakota hit 12 of 24 field goals for 50 percent including four of 12 from 3-point range for 33.3 percent. They were four of five from the foul line. Jason Barrow hit four field goals and two foul shots to lead South Dakota with 10 points while Tibbetts had 9 points, three assists and four steals.
While the Huskies did not maintain their torrid pace in the second half, they still hit 13 of 23-second half field goals for 56.5 percent, including a blazing eight of 11 3-point baskets. Time and time again, the Coyotes tried to rally but the Huskies held off each charge, usually by converting a long distance shot. The Huskies also made 21-of-23 free throws in the second half as they scored 55 points to USD's 44.
On the night, South Dakota hit 25 of 52 field goals for 48.1 percent including just eight of 25 3-point field goals. St. Cloud won the rebound battle, 29-20, as center B.J. Brant had a game-high seven rebounds.