St. Cloud State’s balanced scoring too much for Coyote men

St. Cloud State's balanced scoring too much for Coyote men The eighth-ranked South Dakota men's basketball team (12-1, 1-1) dropped its first game of the season Saturday with an 84-79 loss to St. Cloud State in front of 2,924 fans at the DakotaDome.

St. Cloud State, which improved to 12-1 and 2-0 in NCC play, has now won six in a row over the Coyotes dating back to the 2000-01 season.

The Huskies balanced scoring attack proved to be too much for USD, as five players scored in double figures for St. Cloud State. Forward Jason Kron and guard Alex Carlson led SCSU in scoring with 16 points a piece.

Senior Tommie King, Seattle, WA, led the Coyotes with 23 points and seven rebounds, but was held scoreless in the final 10 minutes of the game. King,

who ranks second in the NCC in scoring with 21.5 points a game, has tallied double figures in points in all 13 of South Dakota's games this season.

The Coyotes trailed by as many as 17 in the second half, trailing 71-54 with 10:26 remaining, before King picked up his final bucket of the game with a dunk at the 10:07 mark.

King's basket sparked a 10-2 run for USD that was capped with a lay-in by sophomore guard Luke Tibbetts with just less than seven minutes remaining, pulling the Coyotes to within 9 at 73-64.

Tibbetts, a native of Sioux Falls, played solid off the bench, with 7 points, four rebounds and three assists in 23 minutes of play.

South Dakota cut the Husky advantage to just 4 at 81-77 with 1:27 remaining in the game after an 11-4 run over a four minutes span, which culminated with a 3-pointer from junior Derek Paben, Pickrell, NE, who picked up his second double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

USD had a chance to make it a one possession game when Tibbetts stole the ball from SCSU's Kron with 54 seconds left on the clock, but King missed a lay-in, giving possession back to the Huskies with 42 seconds remaining.

A pair of free throws by SCSU guard Nate Miller upped the Husky lead to six at 83-77. After a missed 3 by Paben at the other end with 31 seconds left, Kron made it a three possession game, connecting on the second of two free throws to seal the win.

Also scoring in double figures for the Coyotes were sophomore Zach Fortune with 12 points and junior Doug Hanson, Meckling, with 11. Fortune, a native of Bellevue, NE, also pulled down five rebounds.

Sophomore guard Josh Mueller, Hartford, had his streak of four consecutive double-doubles come to an end Saturday, but did record 8 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Mueller leads the conference in assists with 8.9 a game.

As a team, South Dakota shot 44.8 percent from the field on 26-of-58 shooting, while St. Cloud State was 31-of-64 from the field for 48.4 percent. The Huskies shot a scorching 52.6 percent from the 3-point line (10-of-19), while the Coyotes hit on 31.8 percent from behind the arc (7-of-22).

USD continued its hot shooting from the charity stripe, knocking down 20-of-21 from the line (95.2 percent. SCSU was 12-of-18 at the line for 66.7

percent. The Coyotes out-rebounded St. Cloud State, 38-31.

South Dakota resumes play Saturday, Jan. 11, in Greeley, CO, against Northern Colorado starting at 5 p.m.

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