The Coyotes have dealt with adversity very well this year. Their head coach Dave Boots retired just before the season leaving them to follow their assistant coach into their 2013 campaign.
The Coyotes welcomed in the Summit League's newest member and sent them home with a loss. This past Saturday they held on to knock off Denver, a team that was picked to finish second in the preseason polls.
"We have to protect our home court in conference games. It was a good team effort from us and we had a lot of motivation. We got the ball rolling at home and now we have two more tough games at the Dakota Dome this week. It was good to get that first one out of the way and hopefully we can get two more this week," USD Senior Center Rrevor Gruis said.
The Yotes are 6-9 on the year, however they are 5-1 at home. The Dome isn't their only asset though. Inside Gruis is averaging 12 points and 6 boards while his roommate Brandon Bos is racking up 13 points from the arc.
"I think to have a good team you have to have balance inside and outside so they can's just take away one thing, then your whole offensive philosophy is gone. That will help us down the road and hopefully it will make us tougher to guard and we keep rolling like this," Gruis said.
The man that has kept them rolling is interim Head Coach Joey James. He has been a part of the program for 15 years which why his players understand his pride in their school.
"He bleeds USD, so that is good to see. I think he takes winning and losing to heart because he has so much pride here as a USD player and alum," Gruis said.
USD played in their first Summit tourney last year and fell in a heartbreaker to Western Illinois. With only two returning seniors, it is easy to see why James wants to get that taste out of his young Yotes mouths.
"We got a sour taste in out mouth from last year, but what a game that was. We are excited about getting back to Sioux Falls in front of our alum, our fans, and students to get through the first round hopefully," USD Interim Head Coach Joey James said.
"Whatever we need to do to get to the NCAA tournament we are going to do. If we could get it done this year that would be a dream come true for every player on our team," Gruis said.
The Coyotes have a big week ahead of them as they will host IUPUI on Thursday and Fort Wayne on Saturday.