Coyotes remain unbeaten after 79-68 win over Nebraska-Kearney

Coyotes remain unbeaten after 79-68 win over Nebraska-Kearney
Mitch Begeman's 18 points off the bench and Tyler Cain's career night in blocked shots led The University of South Dakota men's basketball team to a 79-68 win over the University of Nebraska-Kearney. The victory gives the seventh-ranked Coyotes a perfect 2-0 mark in the DakotaDome Classic.

The win also gives South Dakota (4-0) a little taste of revenge after UNK eliminated USD in the first round of last season's NCAA Tournament. The Coyotes also even the all-time series with Nebraska-Kearney (1-3) at three games apiece.

In what was the most physical game the Coyotes have played in all season, USD had to fight back from an early lead by UNK to earn the win. After the two teams traded blows for the first few minutes of the game, the Lopers went on an 11-2 run to take a 16-9 lead.

USD, however, would go on a scoring run of its own. The Coyotes would use a 9-0 run to gain their first lead of game and go up by four. With South Dakota trailing 21-19, Begeman (Jr., Sioux Falls) buried a three-pointer to give USD its first lead of the game. The three-pointer was also the team's first made basket from behind the arc. A little over a minute later, Begeman connected on another three to put the Coyotes up by four with 3:22 to play in the first half. The two teams would again trade baskets and USD would go into halftime with a 35-27 lead.

In the second half, the two teams would again trade baskets to start the first seven minutes of the half. The Coyotes would slowly begin to pull away from the Lopers midway through the half.

Three-point baskets from Begeman and Eric Hall (Sr., Huron), combined with an amazing defensive display by Cain led to USD breaking away from Nebraska-Kearney. During a three minute stretch, Begeman and Hall each hit a three-pointer.

While the offense was being provided by Begeman and Hall, Cain was making an early case for defensive player of the year. In a span of just over two minutes, he blocked three shots and nearly recorded two more. Cain finished the night with a career-high nine blocked shots, which were one shy of the NCC record set by Dan Clausen from North Dakota.

In 1982 he blocked 10 shots against Augustana.

Dylan Grimsley (Jr., Sioux City, IA) also put together a strong night for the Coyotes, especially in the second half. He led the team in scoring with 19 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the floor and 8-of-10 shooting from the foul line. 13 of his 19 points came in the final half of the game. Grimsley also finished the night with six rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal.

In 24 minutes of action off the bench, Begeman recorded 18 points and three steals. He was 6-of-9 from the floor and made his first five three-point attempts. He did not miss a shot until the 12:15 mark of the second half.

Along with his outstanding performance in the defensive paint, Cain also filled out the box score in other categories. He posted 11 points, six rebounds and three steals to go along with his nine blocked shots.

USD finished the night shooting 50.0 percent from the floor (28-of-56). It is the second time this season that South Dakota has shot 50 percent or better in a game. All nine Coyotes that played in the game scored.

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