Coyotes defeat New Orleans for first D-I win

Coyotes defeat New Orleans for first D-I win The University of South Dakota men's basketball team earned its first win over a Division I foe Sunday with a 74-66 win over the University of New Orleans of the Sun Belt Conference in New Orleans, LA. It marks the first win over a Division I foe since jumping to the Division I level for the Coyotes (9-5), who extended their winning streak to six games with the road victory. Jesse Becker (Sr., Plymouth, MN) had a big game for USD with 27 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field (including 7-of-13 from three-point range), while Tyler Cain (Jr., Rochester, MN) had 22 points and 11 rebounds. Cain shot 10-of-14 from the field. A key stretch late in the first half helped USD build a lead going into halftime. The Coyotes went on a 15-4 run to take a 35-25 lead, and USD held a 35-28 lead at halftime. Becker paced the Coyotes with a big first half as he led the way with 14 points. Cain added six points, while Louie Krogman (Fr., White River) and Steve Smith (Sr., Sioux Falls) added five each. The Coyotes shot 13-of-28 (46.7 percent) in the first half while limiting New Orleans to just 32.3 percent from the field in the opening frame. New Orleans cut the lead to 35-30 early in the second half, but a three by Becker and a putback by Cain helped the Coyotes stretch their lead back to 40-30. Moments later after a Privateer basket, Becker drained a three-pointer to make it 43-32 with 17:55 left in the contest. The Privateers (5-7) fought back, however, and eventually took a 62-61 lead on a basket by Johann Mpondo. That's when the Coyotes responded with several key plays down the stretch. It started with a layup by Dylan Grimsley (Sr., Sioux City, IA) with 4:31 left to put the Coyotes up, 63-62, and was followed by a dunk by Cain and a three-pointer by Becker to help USD extend its lead to 68-62 with 2:50 left. Perhaps the biggest plays for USD came as stops on the defensive end, as the Coyotes held New Orleans without a field goal over the final 2:33 of the contest. Becker also proved huge from the free-throw line in the final minute, hitting 4-of-4 as USD extended its lead back to eight points. Smith finished with nine points for USD. Grimsley had eight rebounds. Cain and Smith led the Coyotes with four assists each, while Roman Gentry (Jr., Sioux City, IA) had a team-high four steals. USD shot 46.7 percent from the field in the game, compared to 36.7 percent for New Orleans. The Coyotes began a five-game homestand on Dec. 30, which includes games against St. Olaf, Mayville State and Valley City State. Notes: Becker averaged 26.5 points in the Coyotes' wins over Southwest Minnesota State (Dec. 22) and New Orleans…Gentry set a career-high with two blocked shots…USD is 9-1 when leading at halftime this season.

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