Coyote men end Augustana's season Behind four players in double figures and a double-double from senior Luke Tibbetts, the South Dakota men's basketball team (23-5) defeated the Augustana Vikings (8-20), 81-71 March 1 in the first round of the Wells Fargo Finals at the DakotaDome.
The Coyotes spotted Augustana the first 10 points of the game, before senior Josh Mueller hit a pair of free throws at 14:51 to get USD on the board, down 10-2.
USD finally got its first field goal at 14:03 on one of Mueller's seven three-pointers to make the game 10-6.
Mueller, who played his final game in the DakotaDome, tied a career-high with seven three's in a game and finished with 23 points, adding two free throws.
After Tom VerDouw's lay-up gave Augustana a 17-13 lead, the Coyotes went on an 11-0 run down to the 7:32 mark to lead by seven, 24-17. USD then went up by 10, 31-21 at 6:21 on a lay-up by junior Turner Trofholz. The rest of the game Augustana would get no closer than six points, as Trofholz finished with 18 points and led all players with nine rebounds.
On top of Mueller's 23 points, 20 of which came in the first half, senior Luke Tibbetts recorded his first career double-double with 14 points and a career-high 14 assists. He also added six rebounds and two steals in 34 minutes of play.
Freshman Dustin Little was the fourth Coyote in double figures with 11 on 4-of-8 shooting, including two three's and a free throw.
Despite starting the game 0-for-9; USD shot 46 percent (29-of-63) from the field and made 11-of-32 (34.4 percent) from three-point range. At the charity stripe, the Coyotes made 12-of-19 (63.2 percent) attempts.
Augustana, who gave up 12 second chance points, turned the ball over 18 times and committed 19 fouls, which led to its demise.
From the field, the Vikings connected on 45.2 percent (28-of-62) of their field goals and 72.2 percent (13-of-18) of their free throw attempts. However, Augustana made only 2-of-10 (20 percent) three-pointers, with both coming in the final 1:46 of the contest.
Nick Olson led the Vikings with 17 points, while Joey Ryan and James Borom added 15 and 10 points, respectively.
With the win, USD will advance to the semifinals of the Wells Fargo Finals to face St. Cloud State in Omaha, NE, on Friday, March 4 at 6 p.m.