Becker’s season-high 25 points leads USD to rout of North Dakota

Becker's season-high 25 points leads USD to rout of North Dakota
Thanks to an outstanding performance off the bench from Jesse Becker, The University of South Dakota men's basketball team earned its first NCC win of the season. Becker scored a season-high 25 points to lead the eighth-ranked Coyotes to an 88-65 win over the University of North Dakota.

The Coyotes (16-1, 1-1 NCC) continued to use a balanced scoring attack to defeat an opponent. In the team's 23-point win over North Dakota (11-7, 0-3 NCC), six different Coyotes scored in double-digits. All five starters posted double-figures along with Becker (Jr., Plymouth, MN) off the bench.

Despite the frigid North Dakota temperatures, USD shot 50.8 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from the three-point line. The Coyotes were especially hot in the second half as they were 18-of-30 from the field (60.0 percent). In addition, they missed just one free throw as they shot 93.3 percent from the foul line (14-of-15).

In the first half the Coyotes had an answer for nearly all of UND's scores. South Dakota went on an 8-0 run to take a 20-10 lead at the 12:42 mark. However, the Sioux would answer back with an 8-0 run of their own to cut USD's lead to two. After that point though USD's defense would not allow North Dakota to string together any more long scoring runs in the half.

After the 8-0 run, the Fighting Sioux only had one more back-to-back basket situation. USD, on the other hand, had a few runs that included a 6-0 run to end the half with a 41-28 lead. Nick Morrell (Sr., Ogallala, NE), who made his second-straight start in Dustin Little's absence, scored 10 points in the opening half. Jesse Becker scored 11 points in 11 first half minutes.

While the Coyotes did not have one of their best overall shooting halves, they did shoot the ball extremely well from the three-point line. USD took 13 first half three's and made seven of them (53.8 percent).

In the second half, USD's defense was able to allow the team to pull away from the Sioux. The Coyotes held UND to just 34.2 percent shooting from the floor in the game's final half. USD's team defense, along with Tyler Cain's (So., Rochester, MN) performance, cancelled any North Dakota attempt at a comeback.

Cain continued his amazing block numbers as he swatted five shots in the win. He also finished with a season-high 17 points and six rebounds.

Dylan Grimsley (Jr., Sioux City, IA) and Steve Smith (Jr., Sioux Falls) each posted a double-double. Grimsley scored 10 points and pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds. Smith had 10 points and 11 boards.

Morrell finished the night with 13 points and three assists. Eric Hall (Sr., Huron) had 11 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals.

North Dakota also had a player come off the bench and post a big night. Travis Bledsoe scored 24 points thanks to 6-of-9 shooting from the three-point line.

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