The South Dakota men's basketball team opened the 2011-2012 season with a 65-48 loss at Nebraska Friday night in the Devaney Center. The Coyotes were led by 16 points from senior Louie Krogman (White River), while senior Charlie Westbrook (Milwaukee, WI) added 10 points.
"I thought we played with them defensively," head coach Dave Boots said. "We played hard and the kids were very competitive. Our offense gave them some points early and we didn't get some defensive rebounds that we had a shot at and that got us down. Once we took away some of the turnovers early, I thought it was a very competitive game against a very good and physical team."
Nebraska (1-0) used a 9-2 run breaking open a 7-6 score early, but the Coyotes responded courtesy of a triple off a steal and a fast-break layup off another steal by Westbrook to pull within 18-13 with 8:40 left in the opening half.
"I thought they pounded us on the glass really hard," Westbrook said. "They play hard and we play hard, too, we made some good steps tonight playing with some new guys and a new atmosphere – we'll get better."
Off an offensive rebound, Coyote sophomore Steve Tecker (Brule, WI) earned the old-fashion three-point play with the hoop-and-harm bringing the Coyotes within 20-16 with 6:04 remaining in the half.
Two quick buckets by Jorge Brian Diaz put the Huskers back up 24-16 moments later sparked an 8-0 run for a 28-16 lead with 3:51 left. Ricardo Andreotti (Sao Paulo, Brazil) quieted the crowd with a hook shot in the lane bringing the Coyotes within 28-18.
A big block by Andreotti, his second half the half, thwarted a last-second shot by Diaz as Nebraska entered halftime leading 31-19.
South Dakota (0-1) struggled shooting the ball in the opening half as it made just 8 of 30 from the field for 26.7 percent. The Coyotes were led by six early points from Krogman. Westbrook had five points in the half. The Coyotes were just 1 of 12 from deep in the opening half.
Nebraska was led by nine points from Caleb Walker off the bench and eight from Diaz and Toney McCray also had eight points off the bench. The Huskers shot 43.3 percent in the half on 12 of 30. They were 2 of 5 from deep and 3 of 6 from the line.
The Huskers held a 26-15 lead in rebounds and held an 8-5 lead in offensive rebounds leading to a 13-3 advantage in second chance points.
A big triple by Westbrook on the Coyotes' second possession of the second half brought the team within 31-22 with 18:30 left.
A four-point play by the Huskers swelled the lead to 37-22 with 15:44 remaining as Brandon Richardson was fouled while shooting a triple. A mini-run of 10-5 brought the Coyotes to within 42-32 with 12:14 remaining as the Coyotes trailed by as many as 15 earlier in the half.
Two free throws by Bo Spencer, his first two points of the night, swelled the Husker lead to 51-35 with just over eight minutes left. Spencer transferred to Nebraska last season from LSU.
For the game, Krogman led the way with 16 points as he was 7 of 16 from the field and 2 of 8 from beyond the arc. Westbrook was 3 of 11 from the field and 2 of 5 from range and 2 of 2 from the line. Andreotti led the team with seven rebounds.
The Coyotes shot 30.9 percent for the game on 17 of 55 from the field. They were 5 of 21 from deep and 9 of 13 from the line.
Nebraska was led by 16 points from Walker to lead four Huskers in double figures. Walker was a perfect 5 for 5 from the field and 3 of 3 from beyond the arc. He was 3 for 4 from the line and tallied seven rebounds. Diaz added 11 points, while both Richardson and Talley chipped in 10 points.
"We have some things which are better than a year ago," Boots added. "A year ago defensively we have very few chances to have our defense win a game for us, but if we played very well offensively we had a chance. Tonight we played well enough defensively to compete, but we didn't get it done on the offensive end. I thought our execution wasn't good enough all the way through.
South Dakota opens the 2011-2012 home slate Sunday, Nov. 20 at 2 p.m. in the DakotaDome versus Nebraska-Omaha.