The Coyote men’s basketball season is officially underway after an 83-58 victory over York College Wednesday night at the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.
Junior guard Triston Simpson led the Coyote offense with a career-high 23 points on 7-12 shooting and a perfect 7-7 at the free throw line. Senior forward Trey Burch-Manning compiled 22 points, eight rebounds and four steals, followed by junior guard Tyler Peterson with 15 points and six rebounds.
The victory is Todd Lee’s first regular season win as USD’s head coach.
“I got mobbed by the team for my first win so that was fun,” Lee said. “It was good to see.”
After making seven three-pointers in 35 games last season, Burch-Manning hit four of six on Wednesday. Lee said Burch-Manning had worked on his range over the offseason.
“When I got here, he watched all the games and people didn’t guard him on the perimeter. Credit to him, he worked really hard this spring and summer,” Lee said.
USD led York 42-35 at halftime, a gap Lee thought should have been wider with defensive play.
“First half, they caused some problems. Their guards are quick and we didn’t defend very well,” he said. “I thought we locked in a lot better defensively in the second half. We didn’t really make too many adjustments, we just started to execute better.”
The Coyote defense held York to 26 second-half points. At game’s end, USD collected 19 turnovers and scored 17 points from them.
One category York dominated USD in was bench points, where York’s bench scored 30 points compared the Coyote’s eight.
“Our bench needs to continue to get better. We were 3-11 from the bench. We need to shoot the ball better. We had good looks, guys just gotta make shots,” Lee said.
The starters, who scored 75 of USD’s 83 points, are gradually growing comfortable in their new offense, Peterson said.
“It’s just going through that full shot clock. We’re really good in that first 10 seconds when we’re running our set, but after that we have to get into another motion,” Peterson said. “That’s just being comfortable with each other and with the system.”
Junior guard Cody Kelley started his first game as a Coyote after transferring from Wyoming earlier this year. He notched seven points, five rebounds, and five assists in his debut. Now accustomed to his new environment, he said all he has to worry about is team chemistry.
“The fans here have been incredible, the administration has been incredible, the coaches have been incredible. (Now it’s) mainly just on-the-floor things like better chemistry with some of my guys,” Kelley said. “Me and (Peterson), we play together every single day and we see each other every single day in extra workouts, so I’m really good at knowing his game. Other guys, I need to get better at knowing their game, knowing how to act on the court to get the best out of them.”
The Coyotes are now 1-0 on the season and host their first Division-I opponent of the year, Northern Arizona, Monday at 7 p.m.
“After trying to work through a new system and getting familiar with everyone, we’re excited for Northern Arizona to come up here and play us,” Peterson said. “It should be a good test and we’re excited for it.”