After getting the first action of the season in an exhibition match over the Sioux Falls Cougars on Nov. 4, the Coyotes held their momentum into their true season opener against the Mayville State Comets Saturday night inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.
The Coyotes started off strong with an early 10-2 lead and never looked back throughout the entire game, finishing with an 87-59 victory.
After slowing at the end of the first half, the Coyotes entered the second half at full speed, and held a near 30-point lead at one point.
Junior Matt Mooney led the Coyotes in scoring with 13 points, while junior Tyler Hagedorn and sophomore Tyler Peterson both followed with 11 points. Sophomore Brandon Armstrong was the fourth Coyote in double-digits with 10 points, including back-to-back three-pointers.
The Coyotes put up a consistent offense, shooting 48.5 percent from the field, while also holding their own defensively in keeping the Comets at only 30 percent.
Head coach Craig Smith said at a press conference Mayville State “played a good game,” but the Coyotes were better defensively.
“I thought we had a good start to the first half and a good end to the first half, and kind of gained some momentum,” he said. “(We) made a few minor adjustments at halftime that I thought really helped us.”
Smith said the players really adjusted well when they needed to, which translated to a win.
“With more freedom comes responsibility, and I thought our guys did a way better job at just sharing it, moving it, getting more close to touches,” he said. “Defensively, we just made a very minor adjustment.”
For the first home game of the season, Smith said the team did well, but just needs to brush up on skills for the next game.
“Sometimes you get a little first game jitters, maybe a little selfish, and I thought the second half, we really settled in,” he said.
The Coyotes will face their first road test of the season Tuesday when they take on Bowling Green.