Coming off one of their more exciting weeks in recent memory, the University of South Dakota men’s basketball team is looking to finish off their regular season games on a high note.
Senior guard Charlie Westbrook said the season has gone by fast.
“I can’t believe we are getting to the final few games of the season,” Westbrook said. “It’s a little sad to think about but I’m very excited to play these final games.”
The Coyotes are coming off of a week where they upset in-state rival South Dakota State University, who was in second place in the Summit League, then outplayed North Dakota State, third place in the Summit in the first half, but weren’t able to pull out a win.
The 72-68 win over SDSU has been the highlight of the season so far for the Coyotes. Senior guard Louie Krogman, who had a team high of 22 points along with eight assists, said the game was important.
“That was one of my better moments in my four years here,” Krogman said. “The crowd was great and it really helped us out.”
In their game last Saturday against NDSU, the Coyotes were outscored in the second half 47-32. NDSU had a quick 13-3 run within the first five minutes of the second half, setting the tone for the rest of the game.
Sophomore center Trevor Gruis said the team needs to learn from that and come out with more energy in the second half.
“We need to be able to keep our first half leads,” Gruis said. “It’s vital that we play better in the second half in these upcoming games.”
The Coyotes will have their final road game of the season on Feb. 15, as they travel to Indianapolis to take the Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis Jaguars. Expect the Coyotes to continue using their newly instituted weave offense versus IUPUI, which has contributed to 34 assists over the past two games.
“We’ll probably continue using our dribble-weave offense,” Gruis said. “It really gets some open gaps and opens things up for Charlie (Westbrook) and Louie (Krogman).”
IUPUI, 11-16, 5-10, presents a winnable road game for the Coyotes, 4-11, 9-15, who are trying to finish the sesaon with four wins.
In order to beat IUPUI the Coyotes will have to slow down the Jaguars leading scorer, senior Alex Young, who averages 20.9 points-per-game.
“Slowing down Alex Young is going to be a big test, but I think we are capable,” Gruis said. “I’m thinking we’ll continue our 1-3-1 zone because it’s been really working well.”
USD will close out the season with three straight home games, with the season finale on Feb. 25 against the University of Oakland.