Coyote men defeat St. Cloud State 97-89

Coyote men defeat St. Cloud State 97-89 The 19th-ranked South Dakota men's basketball team (15-4, 4-4) knocked off conference leader and 20th-ranked St. Cloud State Saturday night with a 97-89 victory in front of 4,610 fans at Halenbeck Hall.

Senior forward Tommie King, Seattle, WA, led the way for the Coyotes with a career-high 35 points on 16-of-25 shooting. He also pulled down 11 rebounds.

South Dakota led by as many as 17 points in the second half and held a 15-point advantage at 88-73 with 4:42 to play. But with three 3-pointers by senior guard Forrest Witt, the Huskies battled back with a 14-0 run to cut the Coyote lead to one at 88-87 with 1:11 left.

Sophomore guard Josh Mueller, Hartford, answered for USD with three of his 23 points on the night to put Coyotes up 91-87 with 56 seconds left on the clock. St. Cloud State got to the free throw line the next trip down the floor, as Matt Siegle scored the Huskies final two points of the night to pull SCSU to within two at 91-89.

But both Mueller and King each hit a pair of free throws in the final 33 seconds to put the game out of reach and help the Coyotes snap a six-game losing streak to St. Cloud State.

South Dakota trailed by as many as seven points early in the first half at 16-9 with 14:31 to play, but rebounded to take a 48-40 lead in the locker room at halftime.

For the game, USD shot a blistering 62.9 percent from the field (39-of-62), its second best shooting performance of the season.

Junior guard Doug Hansen, Meckling, who was making just his second start of the season, scored 15 points and knocked down 4-of-6 attempts from the three-point line. Junior forward Derek Paben, Pickrell, NE, added 12 points and five rebounds, while sophomore guard Luke Tibbetts, Sioux Falls, scored a season-high 10 points in his first start of the 2002-03

season.

St. Cloud State, which dropped to 18-3 overall and 7-2 in the conference, shot 34 three-pointers in the game, knocking down 13 (38.2 percent), while the Coyotes were 11-of-20 for 55.0 percent. USD out-rebounded the Huskies, 36-31. At the foul line, South Dakota hit 8-of-11 attempts for 72.7 percent, compared to SCSU hitting 18-of-21 attempts for 85.7 percent.

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