Mueller lifts USD to 95-86 win over Tampa Behind a career-high 36 points from junior guard Josh Mueller, the third-ranked South Dakota men's basketball team improved to 3-0 on the season with a 95-86 win over Tampa (FL) Friday night at the Jackrabbit Thanksgiving Classic in Brookings.
Mueller hit 7-of-11 shots from downtown en route to eclipsing his previous career high of 28 points against Augustana during the 2001-02 season. A preseason honorable mention All-American, Mueller also added seven assists, six boards and connected on 11-of-12 foul shots.
Seniors Derek Paben and guard Doug Hanson also had solid scoring nights, both off the bench. Paben scored 22 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the floor, while Hanson added 16 points, which included 3-of-4 from 3-point land.
The Coyotes led 40-31 after the first half of play, but built their lead to as many as 20 points thanks to 59.3 percent shooting from the field in the second half (16-of-27).
Tampa hung tough and battled back to within 5 points at 81-76 with 2:01 on the clock, but USD hit 14-of-16 free throws down the stretch to hold on for the victory.
For the game, South Dakota shot 49.1 percent from the floor (27-of-55), including hitting 15-of-30 from the 3-point line (50 percent). The Coyotes converted on 70.3 percent of their foul shots (26-of-37), but were outrebounded by Tampa, 48-37. The Trojans shot 40.5 percent from the field for the game (30-of-74).
Junior forward Steve Anderson had a good night on the boards with 10 rebounds.
Tampa was led in scoring by James Mereus, who had 17 points before fouling out of the game at the 3:13 mark.