The University of Sioux Falls shot a season-low 35% tonight as they were unable to overcome a 20-point first half deficit en route to an ugly, 80-53 loss at Minnesota State University Moorhead Friday night. It was their largest defeat of the season. Senior forward David Maxwell was the lone Cougar in double figures tonight. He finished with 11 points and two assists.
USF falls to 7-8, 3-8 in the conference, dropping their sixth-straight road contest of the season. MSU Moorhead improved to 14-3 overall and 8-3 in NSIC play.
A combination of turnovers and 61% shooting, 64% (7-of-11) from 3-point range by MSU Moorhead, made for a 20-point first half deficit for USF, which was their largest this season.
The Dragons converted eight first half turnovers by USF into 15 points and never looked back. The Cougars entered the game averaging just 6.7 turnovers over the last three games.
Alex Novak led the way for MSU Moorhead, making his presence felt down low with 14 points in the opening period alone. He led three Dragons in double figures with a game-high 18 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor and 8-of-9 at the line.
With the exception of the initial 30 seconds of the game, USF was chasing the home team the entire game. Near the 17:00 mark of the first half, the Dragons delivered a devastating 20-6 run that lasted nearly eight minutes, as the home team sank 8-of-10 shots from the field and went 4-of-4 of the line to claim their first big lead, going ahead 30-12 with 9:19 to play in the first half.
USF slowly got things clicking on offense, but they found themselves down by as many as 23-points with 1:43 to go. The Cougars allowed a season-high 49 points and headed into the locker room facing their largest first half deficit of the season, trailing 49-29 at the break.
Offensively, the second half didn’t get any better for USF. They posted their second-lowest second half total of the season, tallying 24 points in comparison to 31 by the home team. The Cougars couldn’t find the back of the net, shooting 28% in the final 20 minutes of the game.
USF pulled within 18 points on three separate occasions in the second half, but each time they made a run the Dragons would answer, as they snapped a two-game losing streak with a 27-point home victory Friday night.
The Cougars, who had been red-hot from 3-point range the last few games went 5-of-18 from behind the arc, while the Dragons enjoyed a 50% performance, connecting on 11-of-22 tonight.
Friday’s game also marked just the fifth time this season USF attempted more free throws than their opponent. However, it was the first time they were defeated after recording more attempts.
USF returns to the court Saturday when they lineup with in-state rival Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.'
Courtesy: Dennis Gamble, USF