Coyotes defeat Jacks in Wells Fargo action

Coyotes defeat Jacks in Wells Fargo action The South Dakota men's basketball team (21-8, 8-6 NCC) held on for a 73-69 victory over South Dakota State (26-6) Friday night in the semifinals of the Wells Fargo Finals Friday night in Omaha, NE. The win was the second in less than a week for the Coyotes over SDSU, as USD captured a 78-63 win in the DakotaDome last Saturday.

South Dakota, which has now won 11 of its last 13 games, was led in scoring by senior forward Tommie King (Seattle, WA), who had 20 points and nine rebounds. Senior guard Doug Hanson (Meckling) and junior guard Josh Mueller (Hartford) each added 15 points for USD.

The Coyotes, who were outscored 39-29 in the second half, shot better from the three-point line (52.4 percent, 11-of-21) than from the field (43.5 percent, 27-of-62) in the game. Hanson led the way, hitting a season-high four three-pointers on seven attempts.

With 3:40 to play, USD led 63-53, but SDSU used a 10-2 run over the next two minutes to pull within two at 65-63 on a Joe Green three-pointer. Mueller answered for the Coyotes with a jumper with 47 seconds left to put South Dakota back up four, 67-63.

After SDSU's Matt Jones hit 1-of-2 free throws, senior Derek Paben increased the USD lead to five by hitting a pair of free throws with 42 seconds on the clock.

Paben finished the game with 11 points and eight rebounds. The Pickrell, NE, native was 3-of-6 from the three point line.

King put the Coyotes up by six on 1-of-2 free throws with 19 seconds to go, but the Jacks' Andy Moeller, who had a game-high 26 points, hit a three-pointer with 12 seconds to go, cutting USD's lead to three.

South Dakota State was unable to foul in the backcourt though, allowing Hanson to find King on the other end of the floor for a layup and one to seal the victory.

In the first half, USD trailed 16-14 with 11:24 to play in the first half, before going on an 18-4 run to take a 12-point, 32-20 lead with 5:24 on the clock. The Jacks cut the Coyote lead to six at 34-28, but South Dakota again answered with a 10-2 run to close out the half, taking a 44-30 advantage into the locker room.

For the game, the Coyotes held South Dakota State to just 34.3 percent shooting (24-of-66) from the field and just 6-of-13 from the three-point line. Both teams struggled from the foul line, as the Coyotes were 8-of-15 (53.3 percent), while SDSU shot 62.5 percent (15-of-24).

With five assists on the night, Mueller reset his own single-season school record for assists with 232 (227 assists in 2002-03). He also had five steals on the night.

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