7th-ranked Coyotes cruise to 96-61 season opener victory against Dana

7th-ranked Coyotes cruise to 96-61 season opener victory against Dana
Thanks to a spectacular performance off the bench from Mitch Begeman, the University of South Dakota men's basketball team started the 2007-08 season off with a bang as they defeated Dana College. Begeman recorded a double-double to lead the 7th-ranked Coyotes to a 96-61 victory.

The season opening win for USD (1-0, 0-0 NCC) is the team's 11th-straight win on opening night. The Coyotes also improve to 18-2 under head coach Dave Boots on opening night.

The 96 points scored by USD is the most points they have scored on opening night since the 2003-04 opener. They defeated South Dakota Tech 98-70.

Begeman's (Junior, Sioux Falls) career-game off the bench led the team in nearly every facet of the game. He finished the night scoring 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the floor, including 5-of-9 from three-point range. He was also a major force on the glass as he grabbed 14 rebounds. Begeman also added five assists and four steals. His final total in points, rebounds, assists, steals, field goals made and three-point field goals made were all career-highs.

All-in-all, the Coyotes win was an impressive display of an all-around dominating performance. They had a 42 to 16 points in the paint advantage, a 27 to 6 advantage on points off of 3-pointers, a 29 to 4 advantage on second chance points and a 43 to 14 advantage in points off the bench.

South Dakota was also fierce on the defensive end. They limited Dana to 34.4 percent (21-of-61) shooting in the game, including 26.7 percent in the first half. The Coyotes did not allow Dana any easy baskets, as they finished the night with seven blocked shots. Tyler Cain (Sophomore, Rochester, MN) led the USD block party with four blocked shots.

Three other Coyotes joined Begeman in double-digit scoring. Eric Hall (Senior, Huron) was second on the team in scoring with 17 points while also grabbing seven rebounds. During a 1:14 stretch in the first half, Hall buried three 3-point baskets to help South Dakota build its large lead. Two of his 3-pointers were well beyond NBA range.

Cain and Dylan Grimsley (Junior, Sioux City, IA) also finished the night scoring in double figures. Cain finished the night with 12 points, five rebounds and five assists to go along with his game-high four blocked shots. Grimsley tallied 10 points thanks to 6-of-6 shooting from the foul line.

Dana came out of the gates not looking to roll over for the highly favored Coyotes. The Vikings answered back after each USD shot in the early goings of the first half. Dana even had a few leads before the Coyotes took over.

With the Vikings leading 17-16 with 9:24 to play in the first half, Jesse Becker (Junior, Plymouth, MN) hit a jumper that started a game changing run for USD. Over the next five minutes and 83 seconds of the game, the Coyotes outscored the Vikings 20 to 2. During that stretch, South Dakota connected on four 3-pointers (three from Hall).

Dana was led in scoring by Sean Johnson who had 14 points. Gabe Bross added 13 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the foul line.

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