The University of Sioux Falls men's squad played resilient basketball tonight, but the Cougars' second-half rally fell short as they fell 96-87 to Upper Iowa inside the Dorman Gymnasium in Fayette, Iowa.
The Cougars (5-4, 2-3 NSIC), who trailed 65-43 at the 15:13 mark of the second half, used a 31-9 run over a 13 minute span to tie the game at 74. Robert Goffney’s straight-away three put USF in front 79-78, but the Peacocks (4-7, 2-3) quickly regained the lead and made a parade of free throws to seal the victory.
Jordan Stotts carried the Cougars in the second-half, scoring 32 of his career-high 34 points after the break. The sophomore forward finished 11-for-14 from the floor, 4-for-6 from deep and went 8-for-11 at the stripe. His 34-point outing are the most points scored by a Cougar player since Jan. 11, 2011 (Eric Tisby, 37).
Upper Iowa made seven of its first 15 shots, including back-to-back threes in just over a minute to lead 20-9. Derek Brown scored five of his 11 points to pull the Cougars to within six at 20-14, but the Peacocks responded with a 7-2 run to push their lead back to 11 at 27-16. After several one-and-done trips by both teams, the Peacocks took advantage of four of USF’s 10 first half turnovers and led 43-29 going into the break.
The second half appeared to be a continuation of the first as the Peacocks opened up a 65-43 lead with a Joey Woods layup, but Brown drained a three on the opposite end to kick-start a 31-9 Cougar rally that was capped by Stotts’ game-tying three ball with exactly seven minutes on the clock. Goffney’s clutch three ignited the visitor’s bench and gave the Cougars their first lead since 3-2. A quick Peacock turnover gave USF a great chance to keep things rolling, but they gave the ball right back and former USF player Grant Lang hit a pair to move Upper Iowa in front 80-79.
A free throw by Stotts leveled things before a 5-0 Peacock run punctuated by Lang’s dagger three made it 87-82. Stotts’ second half scoring output (32) was more than the entire USF team tallied in the first half, but a questionable fifth foul put him on the bench in the final minutes and the Cougars cooled considerably in his absence.
The Cougars were forced to foul in the final minutes and Upper Iowa went 7-for-8 at the line to close out the game.
Goffney finished with 15 points (6-for-6 FT) while Brown (11) and Mahlon Jones (10) rounded out the Cougars with double-digit efforts.
The Cougars caught fire in the second half, shooting 17-for-30 (57%) after posting a dismal 33% clip (9-for-27) to finish the game 26-for-57 (45.6%). Upper Iowa shot 52-percent for the game and also saw four players in double digits, led by Joey Woods (19) and Lang (16).
The Peacocks gained 30 points on 19 Cougar turnovers and edged USF 33-32 in total rebounds.
USF looks to snap its three-game losing streak next Saturday at Southwest Minnesota State (5-5, 3-2).
Courtesy: Stephanie Pendrys, University of Sioux Falls Sports Information