‘Mueller’s miracle’ 3-point shot defeats North Dakota 79-78 Thursday in Dome

'Mueller's miracle' 3-point shot defeats North Dakota 79-78 Thursday in Dome The North Central Conference plans to review a last second shot made by USD's Josh Mueller that gave the Coyotes a 1 point victory over North Dakota in the DakotaDome Jan. 2. At issue is whether Mueller beat the buzzer with his shot from the right wing. The final score will not change, since the league does not allow for the reversal of a game's outcome based on a protest. Sophomore point guard Josh Mueller hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give No. 8 South Dakota (12-0) a 79-78 North Central Conference home opening win over North Dakota on Thursday before 3,233 at the DakotaDome.

With less than a second to play, sophomore Luke Tibbetts, Sioux Falls, tossed a long pass to the Coyote end of the floor which was grabbed and thrown up by Mueller. The game-winning shot, the first in Mueller's career, came after North Dakota's Mario Porter sunk a fall away jumper from the left side of the lane that gave UND a 78-76 lead with a second remaining.

Mueller, a native of Hartford, had his fourth consecutive double-double with 18 points and 12 assists. He hit four-of-nine from 3-point range. Mueller also hit all four of his free throws, grabbed three rebounds and had a steal.

After both teams were deadlocked at 38-38 at the end of the first half, USD built an 11-point lead with 9:23 to play in the game. The Coyotes still held a double digit lead, 70-60, with 7:20 left on the clock. But UND, playing without two starters (Myron Allen and Jeff Brandt), fought back.

North Dakota answered with a 6-0 run and cut the USD lead to 72-70 after a pair of Jerome Beasley free throws with 3:21 remaining.

Beasley, Division II Bulletin Preseason Player of the Year, scored 34 points and pulled down 14 rebounds for North Dakota, who dropped to 9-3 on the season.

A pair of free throws by sophomore Zach Fortune, Bellevue, NE, gave the Coyotes a 74-70 lead, but Beasley countered with two free throws to draw UND within 74-72.

After a turnover by Fortune, who had 17 points, Porter drove for the lane and converted a short jump shot to tie the game at 74-74.

Senior Tommie King, Seattle, WA, who scored 22 points and had 10 rebounds for the Coyotes, put USD back up by two with a pair of free throws with 1:14 remaining.

Porter, who had 14 points, again answered for UND, tying the game at 76-76 with 44 seconds to play.

On the following trip down the floor for the South Dakota, King missed a lay-up with 22 seconds remaining, which set up Porter's jumper from the left side of the lane which was followed by Mueller's "miracle" shot at the horn.

For the game, South Dakota shot 41.7 percent from the floor on 25-of-60 shooting, while UND was 26-of-59 from the field for 44.1 percent.

North Dakota outrebounded the Coyotes, 38-34. From behind the 3-point line, South Dakota was 8-of-26 for 30.8 percent, while UND just 2-of-10 from behind the arc for 20 percent.

At the free throw line, USD continued to show its touch, connecting on 21-of-24 attempts for 87.5 percent. UND hit 24 of 28 from the foul line for 85 percent.

For the first time this season, South Dakota failed to reach the 80-point plateau. Freshman Turner Trofholz, Schuyler, NE, had 6 points and seven rebounds in just 11 minutes of action. Doug Hanson, Meckling, and Derek Paben, Pickrell, NE, added 6 points for South Dakota.

South Dakota head basketball coach Dave Boots improved his record vs. North Dakota to 23-10. He is now 169-84 in NCC games, and has a 183-34 (84.8 percent) record at home.

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