Coyotes can’t close on Jackrabbits, fall 94-89
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Coyotes can’t close on Jackrabbits, fall 94-89

In Frost Arena Saturday afternoon, No. 15 South Dakota State saw a revival of the Red Scare.

Down 11 at halftime, SDSU (23-7, 13-2) battled back through the second half to outlast USD (11-16, 5-9) 94-89.

Before Saturday, USD, owning the lowest shooting percentage (43.5) in the Summit League, averaged 33 points in the first half. But the presence of SDSU forwards Mike Daum and Alex Arians forced the Coyotes to step from their comfort zone and launch shots from beyond the arc. To their fortune, those shots fell. USD shot 19 3-pointers in the first half, making 11. Junior Cody Kelley and senior Logan Power together shot 10 and nailed 8. 

“USD today was extremely prepared,” said SDSU head coach T.J. Otzelberger. “They had a great plan, the executed, they made shots, they did everything.”

Power’s triad of threes seemingly came out of nowhere, but Kelley said it was no surpise to the Coyotes. 

“Logan’s been playing well. He’s an unbelievable practice guy. He’s probably the best practice player I’ve ever seen. He never misses a shot,” he said. “His number was called tonight to step up to the plate, and LoPo did a good job of that.”

Kelley nabbed 16 of his points in the first half and Power tied his season high of 11. The Coyotes departed to the depths of Frost Arena leading 55-44.

However, the Jackrabbits came into the second half hot, using a 12-2 run to cut the deficit to tie the game at 63 at the 13:37 mark.

Five minutes later, sophomore Stanley Umude, who leads USD with 14.7 points per game, picked up his fifth foul and exited the game with seven points and eight rebounds.

The rivals traded blows underneath the basket until a three from junior Trey-Burch Manning gave USD an 83-82 lead with four-and-a-half minutes left.

Swapping leads for the next three minutes, Daum broke the 3,000-point mark with a lay-up to put the Jacks up 86-85 with a minute to go. Daum is the tenth player in NCAA to eclipse 3,000 points.

“I’m not (going to) lie, I looked up at the scoreboard and knew what I had,” Daum said. “I was lost in the moment, though. We needed to score, we got a big stop on defense and our guys stepped up and made the plays that we needed to.”

After a series of free throws, USD found themselves down three with four seconds to go. Logan Power launched a three-quarter pass to Burch-Manning, which was tipped to the sideline. Burch-Manning regained possession to put up a shot, but his foot landed out of bounds and SDSU controlled the ball until the buzzer, winning 94-89.

“As the game went on, we adjusted,” Otzelberger said. “Both teams were going back and forth adjusting personnel, and who’s guarding who, and what are we trying to do. So I felt it was a battle that way.”

Cody Kelley led the Coyotes with a season-high 21 points and four assists, shooting 7-for-10 from the field including 5-of-7 3-pointers. Junior Triston Simpson followed with 19 points and three assists, the only player to play all 40 minutes. Trey Burch-Manning compiled 19 points and four rebounds, and junior Tyler Peterson shot 6-of-7 with 14 points.

Leading all scorers was Mike Daum, who posted 25 points on 8-for-13 shooting, adding seven rebounds. Senior Tevin King scored 22 on 10-15 shooting, leading the Jacks with four assists. Senior Skyler Flatten tallied 18 points and seven rebounds.

USD head coach Todd Lee said the biggest factor in the second half was turnovers, something the Coyotes, averaging just 11 a game, are usually mindful of.

“The difference in the second half was that we had 10 turnovers. We only had four at half,” he said. “State’s a very good defensive team, but they’re not a pressure team, so a lot of those turnovers were our mistakes.”

USD’s shooting percentage in the second half dropped to 44 percent. Worse yet, they only hit 3-of-13 (23 percent) from three, a figure they needed to maintain with an undersized front court.

“When you’re on the road, you gotta knock down shots,” he said. “In a close game when you have open jump shots down the stretch, you have to make them.”

The rivals last met in Vermillion on Jan. 6, where SDSU defeated USD 79-61in a game that was never really close. This game, a closer loss on the road, is testament to the Coyotes’ improvement from November, Kelley said.

“I think this team has been growing all year. Early in the year, we were still finding our identity and finding who we were. Tonight we made big steps in figuring that out.”

The Coyote’s return to Vermillion to play their final two games of the regular season. The first is against North Dakota State on Feb. 28, then North Dakota on March 2.

The 23rd ranked Coyote women play State in Frost arena tomorrow at 1 p.m in a battle that will most likely determine the Summit League’s regular season champion.