The South Dakota men’s basketball team secured the No. 3 spot in the Summit League Tournament, beating North Dakota 77-67 on senior day inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.
The Coyotes (20-11, 10-6), were tied to the Fighting Hawks 39-39 at the half. After the break USD was able to gain a lead after a 6-0 run two minutes into the second half.
Head coach Todd Lee said the game was successful, but full of emotions as well.
“You’re preparing for a game and then you get out there at half court and you see all these families and all the kids. Hags was crying and TP (Tyler Peterson) had tears in his eyes, it’s an emotional thing,” Lee said. “You do think about it but you’re preparing for a game and then these guys have spent- Hags has spent five years of his life here, and TP, Triston (Simpson) and Brandon (Armstrong) have spent four years here.”
During the first half of the game, the Coyotes ran into foul trouble.
“We had foul trouble in the first half, so we had to sit Stan (Umude) and Hags,” Lee said. “That hurt us. I thought we defended better in the second half. I don’t know if it showed, but we got some stops.”
Senior Tyler Peterson scored 17 points for the Coyotes with 14 of them being in the second half. Other leading scorers were Triston Simpson with 15 points, Tyler Hagedorn and Stanley Umude both reached 14 points, while Cody Kelly tossed 10 points in as well as six rebounds.
“I don’t think there were too many changes that we made. We just had to clean up a few things,” Kelley said. “Some guys got downhill that we didn’t want to get downhill, so we just had to clean up our defense a little bit and once we start rolling and talking to each other and playing for each other, the ball starts going in the hole and that’s what happened in the second half.”
On the Fighting Hawks side, senior Marlon Stewart fouled out of the game with four minutes left. North Dakota only attempted two shots in the final two minutes of the game with Stewart out.
“(Stewart) is a really good player, and one of the best guards in the league and he’s hard to guard and a lot of the stuff they run is for him,” Lee said. “When he’s out of the game, that’s a big blow to them. We went to him, and we tried to make him guard the best we can because he is so valuable to their team.”
The Coyotes scored 21 points off of 15 North Dakota turnovers. USD also secured 19-of-26 shots from the free throw line.
The Coyotes will face the Fighting Hawks (13-17, 7-9), again during the first round of the Summit League Tournament. Tip-Off is set for 8:30 p.m Sunday night in the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls.
“It doesn’t matter who we play, it’s going to be a hard game the first night,” Lee said. “But we won ten games in league and other that the tough start, we played really well, winning seven in a row in the league and that tournament is so wide open. You never know what’s going to happen there.”