Prior to Saturday's game, the Coyotes (9-0) had gone into every halftime break with a lead. Through the first eight games of the season, USD had proven to be a dominant first half team as they were outscoring their opponents by 16.6 points per game at halftime. However, Lincoln (4-5) was able to take advantage of some Coyote mistakes in the first half.
South Dakota, which is one of the NCC's top teams in terms of taking care of the basketball, turned the ball over eight times in the first half while Lincoln turned the ball over just two times. USD also struggled to get to the free-throw line, as they only attempted four free throws in the first half.
However, in the second half things all turned around. The Coyotes connected on 16-of-19 free throws (84.2 percent) and forced LU into 12 second half turnovers.
Six Coyotes finished the game scoring in double digits, including four of the five starters. USD also had two players record a double-double, which is the first time this season that two Coyotes have had a double-double in the same game.
Jesse Becker (Jr., Plymouth, MN) came off the bench for the second straight game to lead the Coyotes in scoring. One game after scoring 21 points against Peru State, he shot 7-of-10 from the field to again score 21 points against Lincoln. Becker made all three of his 3-point attempts and was a perfect 4-of-4 from the foul line.
Tyler Cain (So., Rochester, MN) and Dylan Grimsley (Jr., Sioux City, IA) were the two Coyotes to notch a double-double. Cain scored a season-high 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. He also added six blocks to his stat totals and now has 113 blocks in 39 career games at USD.
Grimsley scored 14 points and had 10 rebounds. It is the second time in the last three games that he has posted a double-double. He had 22 points and 10 rebounds on Dec. 1 at Colorado State-Pueblo.
Eric Hall (Sr., Huron) and Dustin Little (Sr., Castlewood) were the other two USD starters to score in double figures. Despite struggling from the field, Hall finished with 15 points and seven rebounds. Little
added 11 points and four assists.
Coming off the bench, Steve Smith (Jr., Sioux Falls) added 10 points and five rebounds. Thanks to the 31 points from Becker and Smith, USD's bench outscored Lincoln 31 to 8. It is the third straight game in which the South Dakota bench has scored 25 or more points in a game. Over the last three games, the bench is averaging 36.3 points per game.
Lincoln had three players finish the game scoring in double digits. Mario Lucchesi led the team with 18 points. Joseph Hutchingson had 17 points and seven rebounds while Ralph Mata had 14 points and six boards.