USD holds on for 86-84 victory

USD holds on for 86-84 victory The South Dakota men's basketball team (14-7, 3-5 NCC) survived a late comeback attempt by Nebraska-Omaha (15-6, 5-3) to hold on for an 86-84 Saturday night at Sapp Fieldhouse in Omaha, NE.

USD, which led by as many as 12 points in the second half, held a 9-point 70-61 lead with under seven minutes to play, but UNO hung tough. A pair of free throws by Ty Graham pulled the Mavericks within 3, 82-79, with 28 seconds to play. Junior guard Josh Mueller was fouled on the inbounds pass and knocked down both of his free throws to push the Coyote lead back to

five at 84-79.

UNO's Tola Dada answered for the Mavericks with a 3-pointer with 17 seconds to go, pulling within two at 84-82. South Dakota was again fouled on the inbounds and senior guard Doug Hanson hit a pair of free throws to put the Coyotes up 4, 86-82.

Following a Calvin Kapels layup with 11 seconds on the clock, UNO sent junior guard Vincent McGill to the line where he missed both of his free throws. Dada had an open look at a 3-pointer, but it rimmed out, as the Coyotes improved to 3-5 in the NCC.

Three players scored over 20 points for South Dakota, led by senior forward Tommie King's 25 points. Senior forward Derek Paben scored 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting, while sophomore forward Turner Trofholz had 20 points.

McGill added 11 points, including hitting 3-of-3 3-point attempts.

As a team, the Coyotes shot 54.8 percent from the field (31-of-56), including hitting 7-of-15 3-pointers (46.7 percent). Nebraska-Omaha was 30-of-61 from the field (49.2 percent), but hit just 5-of-23 3-pointers (21.7 percent). USD outrebounded Mavericks, 31-30.

UNO was led in scoring by Randy Bland, who had 20 points and eight rebounds. Graham added 19 points, while Dada had 18.

USD got off to a quick start in the first half, opening up a 26-14 lead at the 10:14 mark thanks to a 12-2 run, which was capped by a McGill 3-pointer. The Coyotes held a 30-20 lead with seven minutes remaining in the half, but UNO pulled to within 1 point, 35-34, on a 14-5 run over the next three minutes. USD responded with a 6-0 spurt to take a 40-34 lead, before taking a 45-40 advantage in the locker room at the half.

South Dakota will close out its road regular season schedule next week when it travels to St. Cloud State on Friday, Feb. 13, and to Minnesota State on Saturday, Feb. 14. Both games tip-off at 8 p.m.

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