Coyote men fall to Augustana in NCC opener

Coyote men fall to Augustana in NCC opener
The18th-ranked South Dakota men's basketball team (11-4, 0-1 NCC) lost its North Central Conference opener, 91-78, to the Augustana Vikings (8-8, 1-1 NCC) despite four players scoring in double figures at the Sioux Falls Arena in Sioux Falls on Jan. 7.

The Vikings, who snapped its two-game losing streak, won its first contest against the Coyotes in five tries as both teams shot over 50 percent from the field.

Senior All-American Turner Trofholz (Schuyler, NE) recorded a double double with game highs of 22 points and 12 rebounds, including 10 defensive. It was the 50th straight game that he has reached double figures.

USD had just two leads in the entire game and both were gained on baskets by Trofholz in the seventh minute of the first half. At 13:39, Trofholz drained a jumper to give the Coyotes an 11-9 lead. Following an Augustana score, Trofholz answered to push USD ahead, 13-11, at 13:02.

The Vikings then went on a 9-0 run to take a 20-13 lead at 10:42 on a three-pointer by Nick Olson.

With six minutes left in the first half, redshirt freshman Jesse Becker (Plymouth, MN) made three-of-four free throws after a pair of technical fouls on Augustana, to cut the lead to four, 25-21.

Augustana then built a 17-point lead at the 3:17 mark, which included a 11-0 run, on a pair of free throws by Excell Hardy. The Coyotes then cut the lead to the halftime margin of 13, 43-30, on a Trofholz free throw with 1:34 left in the half.

In the second half, it was a punch-counter punch game as every time the Coyotes made a push, the Vikings had an answer. However, USD did cut the lead to single digits, with 3:53 left in the second half when Trofholz made a lay-up following a three-pointer from sophomore Eric Hall (Huron) to make the score, 73-65.

Augustana then made 16-of-18 free throws in the final 3:30 to seal the game.

For the game, USD shot 52.1 percent (25-of-48) from the field, including 9-of-21 (42.9 percent) from three-point range. At the foul line, the Coyotes were 19-of-25 for 76 percent. South Dakota was outrebounded by the Vikings, 29-28, and turned the ball over 15 times to eight for Augustana.

Becker finished with 17 points, while sophomore Dustin Little (Castlewood) and senior David Nour (Armour) added 14 and 13, respectively.

The Vikings shot 51.9 percent (28-of-54) from the field and made 64.7 percent (11-of-17) of its three-point attempts. Augustana finished 24-of-31 (77.5 percent) from the free throw line.

Joey Ryan led the Vikings with 19 points, while Olson and Hardy scored 16 and 13 points, respectively. Mike Klepatz finished with 12 points in 19 minutes of play before fouling out.

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