Coyotes use second half surge to defeat Western Illinois
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Coyotes use second half surge to defeat Western Illinois

The USD Coyotes (14-9, 5-3 Summit) took on the Western Illinois Leathernecks (6-13, 3-5 Summit) on Wednesday night at the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.

The Coyotes struggled to start the game, but pulled together defensively to keep Western Illinois within reach.

After eventually falling to an eight-point deficit in the first half, the Coyotes began their comeback by making 10 straight stops going into the half.

Head Coach Craig Smith said at halftime he reiterated the game plan, but also told his team to “to stay in attack mode and play smarter.”

After the shooting just 20.7 percent on field goals and putting up only 22 points in the first half, the Coyotes entered the second looking like a different team, managing to shoot 46.4 percent.

USD’s offensive turnover was lead by sophomore guard Matt Mooney and sophomore forward Tyler Hagedorn.

Hagedorn hit all seven of his 10 free throws in the second half, keeping the Coyotes lead afloat.

“We really pride ourselves on making our free throws and (they) are always a very important part of us trying to get a win,” Hagedorn said.

Smith said Hagedorn was a vital part of the win.

“He was a big difference maker on both ends and closed the game out for us with his free throws,” he said.

The Coyotes are now tied for second in the Summit League standings and will take on Denver at home on Jan. 28.