Sophomore guard Jesse Becker (Plymouth, MN) scored a season-high 27 points, which was one shy of his career-high, and dished out eight assists, which equaled a season-best effort, while playing 38 minutes. Becker made 5-of-9 attempts from three-point range, setting season-bests in both categories.
Junior guard Dustin Little (Castlewood) came off the bench to score 17 points, which was one point away from matching his season-high, on 6-of-12 shooting from the floor. Sophomore swingman Dylan Grimsley (Sioux City, IA) added 15 points thanks to an 11-of-12 success rate at the free throw line, and added six rebounds.
Junior forward Eric Hall (Huron) saw his 10-game streak of reaching double digits in scoring end at 10 games with eight points to his credit. Hall did set a career-high with 11 rebounds, however, including a season-best nine boards on the defensive end.
The Hardrockers were led by senior wing Matt Lyndoe's 14 points and eight rebounds. Senior post Casey Schmitz added 13 points and five boards, while senior guard Blake Tideman came off the bench to contribute 11 points.
Both teams made exactly 23 of 53 field goal attempts (43.4 percent). South Dakota, however, made 21-of-24 free throw attempts (87.5%) while SDSMT checked in at 11-of-18 (61.1%). The Coyotes did dish out 16 assists compared to the Hardrockers' 10.
Becker opened the game with a pair of three-pointers on USD's first three possessions to propel the Coyotes to a 13-2 run to open the first five minutes of the game. The Hardrockers answered back and closed to within six points at several points, the latest coming with 5:07 left in the half with the score standing a 28-22. South Dakota closed out the final five minutes by outscoring SDSMT 15-6 to hold a 43-28 halftime lead, which was its largest of the game to that point.
The second half saw the two schools play fairly evenly throughout, with the Hardrockers unable to close within 10 at any point. South Dakota saw its lead get as high as 17 ponits with 3:27 left in the game, and was able to cruise home for the 16-point victory in getting Boots to the 500-victory mark.