The University of Sioux Falls caught fire tonight, burying a season-best 15 threes to record their highest scoring total of the season in an lopsided, 89-59, win Friday night at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. The win snaps a four-game losing streak, and more importantly, a 7-game road skid for the Cougars. It also represents their first road victory of the 2012-13 season. USF moves to 8-11, 4-11 in conference play.
Tonight’s success took a team effort, as 11 different players got on the board for USF. Bill Freeman led four Cougars in double figures with a game-high 19 points, 14 of which came in the first half. Alone, he accounted for a third of the team’s 3-pointers, going 5-of-7 from deep.
USF actually trailed UMC in the opening minutes of the game, but the Cougars began to heat up. Back-to-back 3-pointers by A.J. Holland and Keaton Moffitt gave USF their first lead, 8-7, with 16:06 left in the first half. They would control the game from that point on.
Over the next five minutes, USF recorded a 14-4 run to establish a comfortable 11-point advantage near the 11 minute mark. UMC cut their deficit to seven at the 10:12 mark, but the Cougars closed the half shooting an impressive 58 percent from the field, 67 percent from three point range, to post their largest first half total of the season and hold a 47-27 advantage at the break. Their 20-point first half margin was also a season-best.
The last time the Cougars scored 40 points in the first period was November 11, when they posted 42 points in the first half against South Dakota School of Mines.
A great deal of their first half success was due to their staggering 8-of-12 shooting from deep. They also had stellar individual performances from Freeman, who topped his career-high with 14 points in the first half alone, and Holland who scored all 12 of his points in the first half.
USF received 29 points from their bench in the opening period.
The Cougars picked right up where they left off, piecing together a 8-0 to start the second half with a 55-27 margin with 17:16 to play.
UMC answered with a 5-0 run to come within 23 points of USF, but that is as close as the score would be tonight, as the Cougars went ahead by 33 at one point en route to a 30 point win.
USF’s 51 percent shooting was their second-best shooting performance this season, and just the second time they finished sub-50 this year. It was also their second-highest 3-point shooting night, connecting at a 48 percent rate from deep.
The Cougars were plus-15 on the glass, turned it over just nine times and recorded 17 assists. About the only negative stat one could find is their lack of points at the line. They shot a season-low three free throws Friday night.
Brandon Burns and Ashton Harrell were the only two players in double figures for UMC. Harrell posted 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting and four rebounds, while Burns chipped in 16 points and four blocks for the Golden Eagles.
Moffitt finished with 14 points and six rebounds for USF, while Holland tallied 12 points and seven rebounds. His rebound total tied for a game-high. James Rader added 10 points and six boards.
USF looks to carry tonight’s momentum into tomorrow’s game at Bemidji State University. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.
Courtesy: Dennis Gamble, USF, Sports Information