USD men’s team falls to Nebraska-Kearney 95-88

USD men's team falls to Nebraska-Kearney 95-88
The University of South Dakota men's basketball season came to an end in the first round of the NCAA Division II North Central Regional Tournament as the No. 4-seed Coyotes fell to No. five Nebraska-Kearney 95-88 in first round action. USD ends the 2006-07 season with a 23-7 record, with the 23-victories tied for the fourth-best total in school history. The Lopers meanwhile improved to 24-6 overall and will advance to face No. one-seed Winona State at 8:30 p.m. tomorrow in the regional semifinal round.

"I thought Nebraska-Kearney played a very good game," said Coyote head coach Dave Boots. "That is a very tough team to play against when they spread the court with all of their shooters. Their full-court press really got them going in the first half and they carried with them through the rest of the game. But our kids played really well all year long, and they were a great bunch of guys who were easy to coach. I know they will work hard this off-season and come out as a stronger team next year."

Sophomore swingman Dylan Grimsley (Sioux City, IA) and freshman forward Tyler Cain (Rochester, MN) tied for the USD-high in scoring with 18 points apiece. Cain recorded his third double double of the year by making nine of 14 field goals to compliment his 13 rebounds, which tied a season-best total for him, and four blocked shots. His four swats moved him into first place on the South Dakota all-time single-season blocked shots list as he ended the year with 64 rejections, one better than the previous record held by Tim Hatchett and set during the 1989-90 season.

Sophomore center Steve Smith (Sioux Falls) made seven of 11 shots to finish with 17 points, reaching double digits in scoring for the 11th-consecutive game to conclude the year. Smith also added seven rebounds and four assists.

Sophomore guard Jesse Becker (Plymouth, MN) came off the bench to contribute 13 points and four assists in 17 minutes of play, while fellow sophomore guard Mitch Begeman (Sioux Falls) added 10 points. Junior guard Dustin Little (Castlewood) set a season-high and tied a career-high with 10 rebounds while dishing out a season-best seven assists in addition to scoring seven points.

South Dakota had a better field goal percentage than the Lopers, 50.8 percent to 43.2 percent. However, UNK enjoyed a 46-36 rebounding advantage over the Coyotes, including 18 to nine on the offensive glass alone. Nebraska-Kearney also made 12 three-point field goals on the evening to help offset a 23-7 deficit in bench points.

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