South Dakota (13-8, 4-3) defeated Purdue Fort Wayne 83-60 (9-12, 2-4). The game was led by senior guard Cody Kelley who boasted 18 points and junior guard Stanley Umude who led defensively with three blocks.
After this game, the Coyotes are now 4-5 in their last nine games.
“We don’t call it a hump, any mature basketball player knows there are ups and downs in a year,” Kelley said. “Coach [Todd] Lee always says a year of basketball is like a lifetime. We’ve just been grinding; we have had some long, gritty and tough practices, but that ends up rolling into the games, which we saw tonight.”
The game started off with a three-point shot from Triston Simpson who is fully recovered from an injury earlier this season.
“The knee has been feeling great,” Simpson said. “I’m still making sure after practice to do my rehab to make sure we stay good. I fell today and it twisted in a way that it hasn’t in a while but it feels great.”
Behind Kelley in points was Simpson (16), senior Tyler Hagedorn (15) and Umude with 12. Simpson shot 6-for-11 from the field followed by Kelley, who shot 5-for-11.
The Coyotes held the lead throughout the game with the biggest streak at 26 points with six minutes left in the second half. The main focus of the second half, according to Kelley, was to keep the team lead.
“We took it head-on and focused on the first four minutes of the second half and that really helps us,” Kelley said
Throughout the game South Dakota averaged 50% from the field and 40.9% from the arch, while shooting 78% at the free throw line.
Purdue Fort Wayne’s leading scorer was Deonte Billups with 19 points, however at 6:14 in the second half Billups and a coach both received technical fouls.
This game was the last time Purdue Fort Wayne will play inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center as a member of the Summit League Conference. Last August the school announced their switch to the Horizon League to play against teams closer to them.
With the Mastodons’ Summit League departure, it was also announced the University of Kansas City Missouri will be joining the Summit League. The Kangaroos are ranked eighth in the Western Athletic Conference.
The Coyotes take on Oral Roberts on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in the SCSC.