Men’s basketball looks ahead to two game road trip
4 mins read

Men’s basketball looks ahead to two game road trip

After a big win over Western Illinois to break a three game skid, the Coyote men dropped a close one to South Dakota State at home.

After they jumped out to an early lead against South Dakota State, it looked like the Coyotes had finally found the rhythm and potential they’ve been hinting at all year long. However, State finding their feet and many USD players getting into foul trouble allowed the Jackrabbits to get back into the game.

Senior guard Casey Kasperbauer has been with the team for four years and said he knows they’re close to turning a corner.

“Every game in the Summit League is tough and we played a really good opponent, preseason first place. We knew it was going to be a dog fight and we competed hard all night. That’s something we can be proud of, but we came up a little bit short,” he said. “We’ve just got to get over it. Get over the hump. We’ve had so many close games in the Summit League and coach Smith has been telling us that our time is coming and we believe that.”

The upcoming week will see the Coyotes go on the road to take on the University of Denver and the University of Omaha. The Denver game will mark their first matchup with USD, while UNO and the Coyotes will be meeting for the second time.

Denver comes into the game at an even .500, 10-10, on the season and 2-5 in the Summit League.

Head coach Craig Smith said he believes they’ve done what’s needed to prepare for the match up.

“We’ve watched a ton of tape on them. They run a very unique style of play, the Princeton offense. They’re very, very disciplined. They’re one of the slowest teams in America in terms of their possessions a game,” Smith said. “They really want to grind it out, slow possessions.
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They shoot layups and threes and really nothing else. They expose you if you aren’t really disciplined on defense.”

With the 14-7 UNO (6-1 in the Summit League) the Coyotes know what they’re going up against. The first meeting with the Mavericks saw the Coyotes blow a 21 point lead in the second half and allow UNO to come away with a victory.

After a loss like that at home in the DakotaDome, the players know this time has to be different, Kasperbauer said.

“We had them down about 20 in the second half and they just came roaring back. We learned a valuable lesson, that it’s a 40 minute game,” Kasperbauer said. “We have to be ready for  both of these next two road games and be ready for a dog fight. These two teams have different styles of play, but two styles we know how to play well and we’re looking forward to that challenge.”

The different styles of play and only two days between games means the Coyotes need to be on their toes, Smith said.

The Coyotes need to be careful and not let emotions get too much in the way against UNO, he added.

“You want the guys to come out and compete hard, but you can’t make it personal either. It’ll be interesting because Denver is one of the slowest teams in the country and Omaha is one of the fastest teams in the country,” Smith said. “It’s completely contrasting styles of play, but the good part is the Omaha game is the second time around in our league, so they guys will know what to expect and how to approach the game.”

The Coyotes travel to Denver to take on the Pioneers Thursday at 8 p.m., followed by a stop in Nebraska to take on Omaha Saturday at 7 p.m.