The Coyote men’s basketball team defeated state rival South Dakota State University Jackrabbits with a final score of 87-68.
Wednesday night the Jackrabbits traveled to Vermillion for the state rival game, which ended with SDSU losing their No. 1 Summit League ranking to the Coyotes. Head coach Craig Smith called the game a “heck of a win for the Yotes.”
Smith contributed the success to the offensive strategy of the Coyotes.
“We played really connected on offense tonight,” Smith said. “We had twice as many assists tonight as turnovers; 15 assists to seven turnovers, and that’s always been our M.O. We’ve always been a good assist team.”
Sophomore Triston Simpson became a rising offensive star on the court with a season-high of 20 points.
“(Simpon’s) shooting numbers in some of our shooting drills that we do have definitely gotten up the last eight to ten days, and it showed tonight,” Smith said.
Junior Matt Mooney said the team overcame SDSU’s “high octane offense.”
“They’re a team that you have to switch up your game plan, but the key is when you check in the game everybody’s locked in what’s your job and what you’re doing,” Mooney said.
Memories of last year’s game in Brookings is what motivated Mooney in Wednesday night’s game, he said.
“They ended our season last year, so that’s all I was thinking about all day is that feeling they gave us last year when we lost to them,” Mooney said. “We used that as fuel.”
Both Mooney and Smith said it was important to have the Sanford Coyote Sports Center filled with Coyote fans.
“To me, there’s a direct correlation with attendance and home winning percentage,” Smith said.
High scorers for the Coyotes were Mooney with 30 points, Simpson with 20 and Nick Fuller with 11 points. For SDSU, Mike Daum lead with 18 points and Skyler Flatten and Tevin King both scored 14.