The South Dakota men’s basketball team bested the Western Illinois Leathernecks 85-72 inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center. The game was led by senior guard Stanley Umude who scored a season-high 28 points.
The Coyotes rebounded after losing to the Leathernecks on the road earlier this season 82-75 at the beginning of conference play when guard Triston Simpson was out with an injury.
Umude said the team recognizes the difference on the court when Simpson is playing.
“He’s huge you can tell the games he didn’t play with us that offensively and defensively it’s big,” Umude said. “Everyone plays more confidently when he’s out there. He can be out there and not score a point. His presence is huge for us.”
This game advanced the Coyotes to 9-3 in the conference and 19-8 overall riding a eight-game win streak.
Behind Umude in point totals was Tyler Hagedorn with 16 and Simpson with 15.
The Coyotes started off to a slow start with Western Illinois leading the first six minutes of the game, however, the Coyotes were quickly able to gain the lead and held onto it the back half of the game.
“We just stayed poised and we’re a confident group,” Simpson said. “We knew if we kept doing what we were supposed to do that the shots were going to fall and that’s exactly what happened.”
Throughout the game, South Dakota averaged 53.4% from the field as well as 27.8% from the arch. The team also made 72% of their free throws.
The Coyotes will be back on the road playing against Oral Roberts in Tulsa, Oklahoma Saturday before returning to the SCSC Feb. 19 to play against North Dakota State.
There are four games left in conference play before the Summit League Tournament in Sioux Falls. The Coyotes are currently ranked third behind North Dakota State and South Dakota State.
“We’re aware of our position but we haven’t been looking ahead,” Umude said. “Our main thing is 1-0 win the game win the day so there hasn’t been too much looking forward.”