Sophomore guard Louie Krogman scored a career-high 31 points to help the University of South Dakota men's basketball team clinch the Great West Conference regular-season title Saturday night with an impressive 97-84 rout of Houston Baptist at the DakotaDome. The Coyotes' 10th consecutive win gave them their first GWC championship, as 2009-10 is the inaugural season for the league, and moved them to 19-9 overall and 10-1 in the conference. HBU fell to 10-20 and 9-3.
Krogman (White River) scored 25 points in the second half alone and connected on 6-of-8 attempts from behind the arc. Senior guard Roman Gentry (Sioux City, IA) added 24 points, while senior center Steve Smith (Sr., Sioux Falls) added 17 points and freshman guard Jake Thomas (Racine, WI) had 11 points. USD shot 52 percent (33-of-64) from the floor for the game, including 60 percent (16-of-27) from behind the arc, compared to 47 percent (36-of-76) overall for the Huskies.
After leading by nine at halftime, USD found itself down 60-54 with 14:04 to go after a Houston Baptist surge to start the second half. USD answered with a decisive run, however, going on a 28-6 spurt to take an 82-66 lead and Krogman was the catalyst, as he scored 15 points during the stretch and Gentry had six. The run proved vital for USD, as Houston Baptist did close the gap to 87-76, but Krogman answered with a three-pointer to help USD ice the win.
Houston Baptist jumped out to an early 18-11 lead over the first six minutes of the game, but USD stormed back, outscoring the Huskies 27-8 over the next nine minutes to build a 38-26 lead.
Thomas and Gentry each had six points during that sequence for USD, while Smith had five. USD took a 45-36 lead into halftime.
Smith and Gentry keyed the Coyote offense in the first half. Smith had 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting, while Gentry had 10 points. Thomas added seven points, while junior guard Mitchell Bouie (Chicago, IL) had six rebounds and Krogman kicked in six points off the bench. USD shot 50 percent in the first half (17-of-34), compared to 40 percent (15-of-38) for Houston Baptist. USD hit five 3-pointers in the first half, compared to zero for the Huskies.