Matt Mooney scored 20 points as the South Dakota men’s basketball team opened Summit League action with an 82-71 victory over Denver Saturday inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.
Four Coyotes scored in double-digits including Mooney’s game-high 20 points. Triston Simpson tallied 17, Tyler Peterson 13 and Tyler Hagedorn 11 points.
South Dakota wins its Summit League opener for the second-straight season and improves to 13-4 overall while Denver falls to 6-9 and 0-1 in league play.
“That’s a good win for the Coyotes,” head coach Craig Smith said. “Denver is a big, physical and rugged team. You have to take care of business at home. When you are doing what we are trying to accomplish, you’ve got to take care of business against good teams.”
Leading by six points with 13:20 remaining in the game, the Coyotes went on a quick 11-3 run to stretch the lead to 14 points. Peterson provided the spark to the run when Hagedorn found him under the basket for a reverse layup. Simpson added a pair of free throws before Nick Fuller hit Peterson cutting under the basket for nearly an identical reverse layup and a 62-50 lead with 11:32 remaining
Joe Rosga sank a 3-point basket before the Coyotes closed out their run with another layup from Peterson and three free throws from Fuller, giving USD a 67-53 lead with 9:35 on the clock.
South Dakota stretched its lead to 17 points after Hagedorn blocked a Pioneer layup attempt and Simpson lobbed a pass to Carlton Hurst in transition for an old-fashioned three-point play. Hurst caught the pass and stretched over the Denver defender and made the layup while getting fouled. After the made free throw, South Dakota led 75-58 with 6:32 on the clock before settling on the final score of 82-71.
The Coyotes shot 49 percent from the field on 25-of-51 field goal attempts while sinking 27 free throws. Denver countered making 27-of-60 field goal attempts for 45 percent. Daniel Amigo tallied 17 points to lead a quartet of Pioneers in double digits.
South Dakota out-rebounded the Pioneers 33-29 with five different Coyotes tallying five rebounds.
Mooney tied his career high with six steals as the Coyotes tallied 10 as a team. South Dakota turned 16 Denver turnovers into 19 points.
The Coyotes continue a stretch of three-straight games to open Summit League play inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center hosting Western Illinois at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
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