Coyotes fall to North Dakota State 67-59

Coyotes fall to North Dakota State 67-59 The South Dakota men's basketball team (19-9, 8-8) dropped a 67-59 decision to North Dakota State in the first round of the Wells Fargo/North Central Conference postseason playoffs Tuesday night, March 4 in front of 1,311 fans at the Bison Sports Arena in Fargo, ND.

USD, which has lost five games in a row, was led in scoring by senior forward Tommie King with 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the field. Junior forward Derek Paben added 15 points.

NDSU was led in scoring by senior forward Denver TenBroek, who had a game-high 28 points and 15 rebounds.

Both teams struggled shooting the ball on Tuesday, as the Coyotes shot 39.3 percent from the field, while the Bison were no better, hitting 38.8 percent of their shots. North Dakota State held the edge in the 3-point shooting, knocking down 9-of-24 attempts for 37.5 percent, while South Dakota was ice cold from beyond the arc, hitting just 3-of-23 attempts from downtown (13.0 percent).

After falling behind 9-2 early in the game, the Coyotes battled back to take a 14-12 lead with 10:02 to play in the first half as sophomore Josh Mueller paced an 8-0 USD run with 5 of his 13 points on the night. South Dakota held NDSU to 29.6 percent shooting in the first half (8-of-27), but hit just 9-of-29 shots on its end of the floor (31.0 percent) as the first half ended up in a 27-27 tie.

Early in the second half, the Coyotes took a 40-33 lead as a steal and dunk by King capped a 13-4 run with 15:23 to play. NDSU answered with a 9-0 run over the next three minutes to pull ahead 42-40. The Bison extended their lead to 54-48 after Ben Nemmers hit one of his four 3-point field goals on the night at the 4:57 mark.

Consecutive baskets by Paben and Mueller brought the Coyotes back to within 2, 54-52, with 3:31 to go. NDSU responded with two straight 3-pointers by Adam Dobmeier and TenBroek to push the Bison lead back to 8 (60-52) with two minutes to play.

After two free throws gave NDSU its biggest lead of the night at 62-52, USD scored 5 points in a row to cut the Bison advantage to 62-57 with 1:22 on the clock. North Dakota State staved off the Coyotes by connecting on 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to hold on for the win.

The Coyotes hit 22-of-56 field goals for 39.3 percent and 12-of-17 free throws but lost the rebounding battle, 38-31. Luke Tibbetts, a sophomore from Sioux Falls, had 7 points, five rebounds and three steals.

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