On Thursday night the Coyotes hosted the North Dakota State Bison on “Star Wars” night in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.
USD lost the previous five meetings against the Bison including an overtime loss in last year’s “Star Wars” game.
After a combined five missed shots and two turnovers, the game saw its first point of the game at the 17:19 mark where senior guard Damani Hayes drained a free throw to start the scoring.
Shortly after the free throw, junior guard Kruz Perrott-Hunt led a 6-0 Coyote run to put them up 7-2.
This was followed up by a 9-0 Bison run to give NDSU a 14-11 lead with 11 minutes remaining.
The first half was back-and-forth the rest of the way with neither team able to pull away by more than three points, until the Coyotes ended the half on a 9-2 run to take a 33-27 lead.
South Dakota caused a turnover as soon as the game resumed junior forward Tasos Kamateros capitalized with a 3-pointer to put the Coyotes up 36-27.
With 5:47 to go Kamateros hit another 3-pointer to give the Coyotes their largest lead of the night of 18 points, 64-46.
The next five minutes South Dakota was held to just one point. This led to a Bison comeback where they cut down the lead to five points with less than a minute remaining.
The Coyotes were able to close the game out on top after going 6-6 at the free-throw line in the last 34 seconds of the game to win 71-62.
Kamateros led the Coyotes with 23 points and nine rebounds in the win. He was joined by Perrott-Hunt (15) and sophomore guard Max Burchill (11) in double-digits in scoring.
Tied with Kamateros with a game high 23 points was NDSU junior guard Boden Skunberg. Junior forward Grant Nelson finished with a double-double, scoring 13 points and 13 rebounds. He also dished out a team high four assists and two blocks.
On Saturday the Coyotes faced off against North Dakota on Native American Heritage Day as senior guard Mason Archambault (Standing Rock Sioux Tribe) and UND’s freshman guard Treyson Eaglestaff (Cheyenne River Sioux) were honored before the game.
UND won the tip and struck first as junior forward Tsotne Tsartsidze opened up the game scoring with a jumper, he scored the first four points for the Fighting Hawks.
At the 14:21 mark Perrott-Hunt not only tied the game up at nine but also reached a milestone as that bucket helped him reach 1,000 career points. He is the 32nd member in Coyotes Division I basketball history.
After a back-and-forth 10 minutes, USD took their first lead of the day at the 9:48 where Perrott-Hunt made a jumper in the paint to go up 22-21.
North Dakota pulled away after an 8-0 run to take the lead back 36-29.
Perrott-Hunt converted on a buzzer beater to enter halftime down by seven as the Coyotes trailed 40-47.
Tsartsidze made a 3-pointer with 9:06 remaining in the second half, to give the Fighting Hawks their biggest lead on the day .
South Dakota chipped the lead to as low as 13 points but ended the game losing by 14 by the final score of 72-86.
The Coyotes made 26.92% of their shots from the field in the second half going 0-8 behind the arc. As the Fighting Hawks, they shot 52.17% in the final 20 minutes.
Perrott-Hunt led the Coyotes in scoring with 18 points going a perfect 7-7 at the free-throw line. Kamateros finished the day with 16 points and nine rebounds.
North Dakota junior guard Matt Norman ended the day with a game-high of 21 points after making six 3-pointers. Freshman forward BJ Omot had 17 points going a perfect 8-8 at the free-throw line with nine rebounds. Tsartsidze added 16 points. All three played in at least 38 of the 40 minutes of the game.
After the split weekend, South Dakota dropped to the seventh seed in the Summit League. The Coyotes will face off against South Dakota State in Brookings on Feb. 11.