With a 4-4 record at the DakotaDome, the University of South Dakota men’s basketball team will be looking too add to that mark as they open a three-game home stand.
On Saturday, Feb. 4, USD will host the University of Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos in a double header between both women and men’s teams.
The Coyotes, 7-14, will be playing in the midst of a three-game losing streak.
Despite the recent struggles by the team, head coach Dave Boots said the team does not intend to reflect on the past.
“We just prepare for the next game on our schedule,” Boots said.
The meeting between the Coyotes and UMKC, 9-15, will be their second of the season.
In the first match-up between the two teams, USD went on to win 76-57. The strong performance was the Coyotes’ only conference road win of the season thus far.
“We played very well offensively that night,” Boots said. “We had a big run in the second half during that game.”
Senior guard Charlie Westbrook scored a career high 32 points in the win. Westbrook’s second half point total of 23 points, is a season high for any USD player in a half this season.
“His teammates did a nice job of giving him the ball in a position to score,” Boots said. “I’m sure (UMKC will) defend him a little bit better.”
Senior Louie Krogman added 16 points in the victory as well. Sophomore Trevor Gruis was able to grab 10 rebounds in addition to 10 points in the road win.
Since losing to the Coyotes earlier this year, Boots said he has noticed strengths in the Kangaroos’ play.
“They’re a good shooting team,” Boots said. “They’re playing pretty well right now, so we’re going to be challenged.”
UMKC is currently ranked third in the Summit League in terms of three-point field goals being made.
According to Boots UMKC’s shooting from beyond the arc will be the top priority for the team defensively.
USD, however, has issues revolving around their offensive game.
At times, Boots expressed concern about the small amount of points the Coyotes have scored in games throughout the season.
“That doesn’t give you a best chance to win,” Boots said. “You can’t rely on one or two kids.”
Boots said playing in the DakotaDome shouln’t have an effect on the game’s outcome.
“I think you got to play the same way at home that you do on the road,” Boots said.
USD will be renewing rivalries against North Dakota State Univeristy and South Dakota State University in their next two home games after their meeting with UMKC.
Tip-off for the match-up is scheduled for 7:30 p.m in the DakotaDome.