Coyotes turn back NDSU

Coyotes turn back NDSU The South Dakota men's basketball team (17-5, 9-5 in the NCC) received 26 points from Josh Mueller and a career high 21-points from Eric Hickenbottom in a 86-73 North Central Conference win at Fargo before 3,176 at the Bison Sports Arena.

Mueller hit 10 of 14 field goals and dished out eight assists in 37 minutes of action to lead South Dakota to their ninth conference win. Hickenbottom had 21 points on five of 12 shooting from the field and nine of 10 from the free throw line. He also grabbed nine rebounds.

Hickenbottom had 18 points in the second half. Jimmie Foster had 17 points and nine rebounds for South Dakota, which made 28 of 53 field goals for 52.8 percent, including eight of 15 from the three-point line. They were 22 of 25 from the free throw line in a stellar shooting performance on the road.

North Dakota State made 25 of 63 field goals for 39.7 percent. The Bison hit 25 of 63 field goals in the first half, including just eight of 27 three-point field goals for 29.6 percent. NDSU hit 15 of 20 free throws for 75 percent.

South Dakota trailed early as NDSU jumped to a 8-0 lead as NDSU shooting guard Scott Majkrzak hit a pair of three-pointers in the first two minutes.

A jumper by Mueller cut the lead to 8-5 at the 15:57 mark. The Bison responded by taking a 14-7 lead as Andy Kelchen hit a jumper at the 12:50 mark. After the Coyotes closed to gap to 14-11, the Bison outscored the Coyotes 13-3 to take a 27-14 lead at the 4:53 mark after a jumper by Denver TenBroek, who scored 27 points on the night, including 16 in the opening half.

At that point, the Coyotes started their comeback as sophomore forward Steve Anderson hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 27-16 at the 4:35 mark. Then, Mueller scored nine points to key a 17-9 run by the Coyotes as they closed within 36-31 at the halftime break. Mueller had 11 points in the first half to lead South Dakota, which hit 12 of 29 fields for 41.4 percent.

The Coyotes made three of nine from the three-point arc and they made four of five from the free throw line during the first half. The Bison made 13 of

32 first half field goals for 40.6 percent, including four of 13 from the three-point line for 30.8 percent. They made six of seven free throws for 85.7 percent.

The Coyotes' run continued in the second half as they outscored the Bison, 11-6 to tie the game at 42-42 when Foster scored inside at the 16:43 mark. A jumper by Hickenbottom gave South Dakota their first lead of the game at 44-42 with 16:22 to play. But that was just the start of positive things for the Coyotes. During the second half, they hit 16 of 24 field

goals for 66.7 percent, including five of six from three-point range for 83.3 percent.

They also made 18 of 20 free throws for 90 percent. But, shooting well in the second half has been a Coyote mode of operandi during the last three games. Including the win over NDSU, the Coyotes have hit 47 of 76 field goals for sizzling 61.8 percent during the second half in their past three games.

After Hickenbottom gave the Coyotes' the lead, the offensive surge continued for South Dakota. They jumped to a 58-50 lead when Hickenbottom again scored on a jumper at the 11:54 mark.

A three-pointer by Marshall gave the Coyotes a 65-54 lead at the 8:16 mark and Hickenbottom's three-pointer with 4:20 to play increased the lead to 75-60. From the four-minute mark of the first half to the four minute mark of the second half, a span of nearly 16 minutes, the Coyotes outscored the Bison, 61-33.

The Bison cut the lead to nine points at 78-69 with 1:45 left to play but the Coyotes hit four free throws and received a lay-up from Foster to keep the Bison at bay.

It was the third straight game that the Coyotes have overcome a double-digit deficit.

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