USD men claim No. 3 seed in NCC Tournament

USD men claim No. 3 seed in NCC Tournament
Thanks to a pair of double-doubles from Tyler Cain and Eric Hall, The University of South Dakota men's basketball team wrapped up the No. 3 seed in the NCC Tournament that starts on Wednesday. The efforts by Cain and Hall lifted the 12th-ranked Coyotes to an 83-74 victory over St. Cloud State University.

USD (22-5, 7-5 NCC) played host to North Dakota on March 5 at 7 p.m. With their win over St. Cloud State (17-10, 5-7 NCC), USD moved into a tie with Nebraska-Omaha for third place. The Coyotes own the tiebreaker over UNO since they defeated Minnesota State once while UNO went 0-2 against the NCC regular season champions.

Cain and Hall combined for 38 points and 22 rebounds in the win for USD. Hall, who played in his final regular season game at DakotaDome, scored a team-high 20 points and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds. The double-double is his second of the season and the fourth of his career. The senior forward was a perfect 8-of-8 from the foul line as the Coyotes as a team went 20-of-20 from the charity stripe.

Cain posted 18 points and 10 rebounds. He tied his season-high with eight made field goals, making 8-of-11 shots. He also recorded three assists, three blocks and two steals.

The game was another tight battle between the two teams. USD held on to a lead for the first five minutes of the second half before the Huskies went on a 8-0 run to take a two-point lead. They would build their lead up to six, 65-59, at the 12:09 mark.

Craig Coenen knocked down a three-pointer to give SCSU their six point lead. However, after that basket the Coyotes would go on a game-deciding run. Hall had a three-point play at the 11:08 mark that sparked an 18-5 run by South Dakota. During the run that nearly went for nine minutes, almost everyone of the floor for USD came up with a big play.

Along with the three-point play, Hall also had a three-pointer which tied the game at 67-67. Cain, Jesse Becker and Dylan Grimsley each had four points during that stretch. Cain came up with two steals and multiple key rebounds during the stretch. Becker assisted on a pair of baskets and set up two others.

Becker finished the game with 14 points and five assists. He made all six of his free throws and made four baskets. Steve Smith also had 14 points in the game. He was key in giving the Coyotes a four-point halftime lead as he scored 10 of his 14 points in the first half. He also grabbed six rebounds.

Although they struggled from the three-point line, making just 3-of-17 attempts, the Coyotes were strong from the field overall. They shot 51.7 percent (30-of-58) in the game, the eighth time this season they have finished a game shooting better than 50 percent in a game. In all eight games they have come away with a victory.

Ross Winnekins led St. Cloud State with 23 points and 10 rebounds. David Dreas had 15 points but shot just 5-of-17 from the floor. Craig Coenen and Dusty Wabiszweski each had 10 points in the game. Wabiszweski also chipped in with 10 assists.

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