USD defeated in-state opponent Mount Marty 94-79 inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center Friday night.
The Coyotes were without starting point guard Tristan Simpson and played with a short bench but were able to fend off a surging Lancer team in the second half to preserve the 15-point victory.
“I think the whole year we’ve had that ‘next guy up’ mentality,” senior guard Tyler Peterson said. “Guys are going to go down throughout the season and we definitely went through that last year. I think that’s been a big thing this year, guys have stayed ready to go.”
Peterson was a perfect 6-6 from the field on the night, finishing with 17 points, six rebounds and five assists. Junior guard Stanley Umude led all Coyote scorers with 19 points to pair with his 14 boards in a double-double effort.
Senior guard Brandon Armstrong led the three Coyote bench players in points with 15. He split time with freshman guard Kruz Perrott-Hunt, who started the game, at point guard to fill in for Simpson. Senior forward Tyler Hagedorn also came off the bench to log 14 points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes. Freshman forward Hunter Goodrick got the starting nod down low for USD, totaling four points and six rebounds.
The Coyotes were able to fend off the Lancers for a majority of the game, with Mount Marty losing their lead 2:15 into the game and never regaining it. The Lancers fought back in the second half, cutting an 18-point second half deficit to five with six minutes to play. However, the Coyotes would not let them come within seven points of the lead for the remainder of the game.
“It’s great momentum,” Umude said. “We have the four home games, we have the game in Sioux Falls, we’re going to try and win all of those. We should have some good motivation going into conference.”
After the buzzer, head coach Todd Lee said he knows better days are ahead for his team despite picking up their seventh win in 10 games.
“I think our guys know we can play a lot better,” Lee said. “I always say when the coaches are tired the players are tired because we’re not playing, and I feel kind of tired. As a team, you do need time for yourself, to prepare and work on fundamentals and get your mind right. We can improve a lot, I think.”