A few transitions helped the men’s team in the second half to beat the Omaha Mavericks 79-64 in their final home game at the Sanford Coyote Sports Center Saturday afternoon.
The Coyote men celebrated Senior Day, and honored the four seniors on the team: Austin Sparks, Joshua Doss, Carlton Hurst and Nick Fuller.
Head coach Craig Smith said the team will miss the seniors.
“I can’t say enough about these four guys,” Smith said at a press conference. “They’re all very different people, but at the core, they’re what we want our men’s basketball team to be about.”
Mooney said the team struggled offensively against Omaha.
“We really played well defensively even though offense wasn’t clicking,” he said. “That led to us getting on a transition and starting to get some buckets. We just have to keep playing like that all 40 minutes.”
The Coyotes shot at 47.4 percent from the paint and 14.3 percent for three-pointers. Omaha, however, shot at 31.8 percent for three-pointers, an advantage to them during the second half.
The Coyotes defended the ball throughout the entire game, as well as Omaha.
The Coyotes held on through the game, which saw a better second half offensively and defensively. The men had a strong lead over the Mavericks at the second half to end 79-64.
Lead scorer for the Coyote men was junior Matt Mooney with 28 points, followed by junior Trey Burch-Manning with 15 (including four dunks) and Fuller with 11.
Fuller said the team had to “attack” during the second half.
“I think it’s our mentality to stay and attack so we can get in the lane and try to finish those easy buckets,” Fuller said.
The Coyotes will end their regular season in Brookings to take on rival South Dakota State University Thursday. This game will determine the no. 1 conference champion and the no. 1 seed at the Summit League Tournament, according to GoYotes.
Burch-Manning said the team’s looking forward to the SDSU game.
“It’s the next game up,” he said. “We know what it means, and it’s going to be fun.”
The South Dakota Showdown starts Thursday at 7 p.m. in Brookings.