USD men escape Omaha

South Dakota's Tyler Flack drives in the paint and is fouled by an unidentified Omaha player during the second half of play Thursday, Feb. 20, in the DakotaDome. Flack led the Coyote offense with 21 points. (Photo by David Lias)

South Dakota’s Tyler Flack drives in the paint and is fouled by an unidentified Omaha player during the second half of play Thursday, Feb. 20, in the DakotaDome. Flack led the Coyote offense with 21 points. (Photo by David Lias)

BY JEREMY HOECK

jeremy.hoeck@yankton.net

VERMILLION — In what is typically referred to as ‘crunch time,’ the sophomores for the University of South Dakota men came up rather big.

The stat line for the five of them read: 63 points and 18 rebounds. And most of those came from non-starters.

“Forty nine points off the bench, I don’t think I’ve seen that here in quite some time,” said Coyote interim head coach Joey James, whose team edged Omaha 87-86 in a fast-paced, intense Summit League game Thursday night at the DakotaDome.

The biggest play of the night for the Coyotes (11-15, 5-6) was made by, who else, a sophomore.

South Dakota's Trey Norris (1) is closely guarded by Omaha's Devin Patterson during men's basketball action in the DakotaDome. Norris sank a free throw with 1.5 seconds left in the game to give USD an 87-86 win in a thriller Thursday. (Photo by David Lias)

South Dakota’s Trey Norris (1) is closely guarded by Omaha’s Devin Patterson during men’s basketball action in the DakotaDome. Norris sank a free throw with 1.5 seconds left in the game to give USD an 87-86 win in a thriller Thursday. (Photo by David Lias)

Trey Norris drew a foul with 1.5 seconds left and hit one of two free throws.

Talk about surviving.

“I love fun games, but it doesn’t need to be that way,” James joked. “But that’s been the story of this basketball team.

“We came out on top and that’s what I’m excited about.”

Winning for the second straight game proved to be anything but easy for USD, which earned a season split with the Mavericks (15-12, 4-7) thanks to a season-high 21 points from sophomore Tyler Flack.

The final play was designed for junior Brandon Bos to get the ball inside to senior Trevor Gruis, but Omaha read that — though Norris was wide open at the top of the key.

“It wasn’t really much of a thought process for me,” Bos said.

Up 83-78 with 51 seconds to play, the Coyotes surrendered a pair of threes to Omaha’s Caleb Steffensmeier — including a game-tying shot with 18 seconds left.

That’s how the Mavericks play, though, fast. They rank among the nation’s leaders in tempo, and actually attempted nine more shots than USD.

“It almost feels like, at times, an open gym, which is what we like,” said Coyote sophomore Casey Kasperbauer, who had 14 points and five rebounds off the bench.

Sophomore Adam Thoseby led the reserves with 16 points, while sophomore Kasperbauer had 14 points and five rebounds. Bos chipped in with 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

“We have a very good class here that we are building our program around,” James said.

Omaha put four starters in double figures, led by Mike Rostampour with 18 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out.

The next goal for the Coyotes is to turn around an 18-point road loss to Western Illinois when the Leathernecks come to Vermillion on Saturday.

“They’ve had our number in the past, but we’re going to come out hungry,” Bos said. “I don’t think we need any more motivation to beat that team.

“They’ve kicked our you-know-whats in the past, so we’ll be ready to play.”

You can follow Jeremy Hoeck on Twitter at twitter.com/jhoeck. Discuss this story at www.yankton.net.

S. DAKOTA 87, NEBRASKA-OMAHA 86

NEBRASKA-OMAHA (15-12)

Rostampour 5-7 7-9 18, Karhoff 3-11 3-3 9, Patterson 2-7 6-7 10,  Carter 6-13 4-6 19, Tyus 4-9 3-4 12, Phillips 3-5 0-1 6,  Steffensmeier 2-6 0-0 6, Simmons 2-6 0-0 4, Hagerbaumer 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 27-65 25-32 86.

S. DAKOTA (11-15)

Flack 7-10 6-7 21, Rowson 2-5 1-2 6, Gruis 1-4 2-4 4,  Norris 3-5 1-2 7, Larson 0-0 0-0 0, Bos 4-8 3-4 12, Thoseby 5-11 4-4 16,  Kasperbauer 5-8 1-2 14, Pomlee 1-1 0-0 3, Robertson 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 30-56 18-25 87.

Halftime—S. Dakota 38-35. 3-Point Goals—Nebraska-Omaha 7-24 (Carter  3-6, Steffensmeier 2-6, Rostampour 1-2, Tyus 1-4, Phillips 0-1, Simmons  0-2, Patterson 0-3), S. Dakota 9-14 (Kasperbauer 3-4, Thoseby 2-4, Bos  1-1, Pomlee 1-1, Rowson 1-2, Flack 1-2). Fouled Out—Karhoff, Robertson,  Rostampour. Rebounds—Nebraska-Omaha 33 (Rostampour 11), S. Dakota 36  (Bos 7). Assists—Nebraska-Omaha 10 (Patterson 5), S. Dakota 12 (Bos 5).  Total Fouls—Nebraska-Omaha 22, S. Dakota 24. Technical—Carter. A—1,318.

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