Though the first half saw Peru leading a few times against the Coyotes, the second half allowed USD to step up and secure a 98-55 victory over the Bobcats Saturday afternoon in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.
The Coyote men are now 22-6 in the season, which is tied for the most wins for USD at the Division I level, according to GoYotes.
Peru, who played Saturday’s game as an exhibition, remain 16-10 in their conference.
At one time in the first half, the Bobcats tied the Coyotes 32-32, and changed the score to lead a few times in the beginning of the first. The Coyotes managed to change that toward the end of the first half, never letting the Bobcats steal the lead after a layup by junior Trey Burch-Manning. The final score at the end of the first half was 45-34.
The second half saw sophomore Brandon Armstrong lead in scoring with a 16-0 run. Armstrong was the highest scorer of the game with a season high of 24 points, shooting more than 80 percent from the field.
Junior Tyler Hagedorn was the second Coyote to score in double digits with 19. The Coyotes shot 58.5 percent from the field.
Hagedorn said at a press conference the team went into the game with high hopes of winning. After the rocky start at the beginning, the team knew they had to readjust to Peru’s offense.
“We have a tendency when we play NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) schools to come out slow and sluggish,” Hagedorn said. “We always talk about ‘don’t play down to your opponents,’ and tonight I think we did that. The first 10, even 15 minutes of the first half we just were not playing Coyote basketball. But after that I thought the last 25 minutes of the game, we played really well. We were really unselfish and really started clicking offensively, and defensively we started to find a rhythm there.”
Armstrong said it took a bit of time to get going.
“They really punched us in the mouth the first 10, 15 minutes,” Armstrong said.
Head coach Craig Smith said Peru is a good team that caused the Coyotes to adjust their mindset of the game.
“I really liked how we played the last 25 or so minutes,” Smith said.
The Coyotes travel to Oral Roberts Wednesday at 7 p.m. The men’s final USD home game is Saturday against Omaha at 3:30 p.m.