It was a tight game in the packed arena Saturday as the Coyotes (18-10, 9-4 Summit) took on the South Dakota State Jackrabbits (12-16, 5-8 Summit) inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.
The Coyotes started strong, but had their lead cut from 14 to just 1 and even fell behind at one point.
USD held on in the end to put up a win in front of 5,260 people with a final score of 91-89.
The Coyotes were lead by sophomore guard Matt Mooney, who had 25 points including three deep 3-pointers late in the game. Senior center Tyler Flack also heavily contributed, with 23 points and eight rebounds.
Not only did Flack put up the points and the boards, which included five offensive rebounds alone, but he also was put to the task of guarding SDSU sophomore forward Mike Daum.
Daum, currently the second highest scorer in the entire nation with an average of 23.9 points a game, was held to just 22 points.
The Coyotes often double-teamed Daum, which caused 13 of his 22 points to come from free throws.
While the double-team certainly helped in containing Daum, it left open junior guard Reed Tellinghuisen, who finished with 28 points.
Flack spoke about how stopping the Jackrabbits run and keeping their composure to win the game was key.
“They made a run and some tough shots, but we showed a lot of poise down the stretch,” Flack said. “I’m really proud of my teammates. It feels awesome.”
After playing in front of the large crowd, head coach Craig Smith said he could feel the energy the crowd was giving, especially when the game got close.
“It was definitely a physical, rugged game for us, but we fought it out and got some really great energy from the fans,” Smith said. “It was electric in there.”
With the win the Coyotes have now equaled their highest win total in Summit League play and improved their home record to 12-1.
Their next game, their last home game of the season, will take place on Feb. 18 against Oral Roberts.