South Dakota senior forward Karim Rowson scored a career-high 21 points and pulled down nine rebounds to lead the Coyotes to a 75-61 win against Fort Wayne Saturday in the DakotaDome in a battle for first place in the Summit League standings.
The Coyotes (8-9, 3-0 Summit) are the lone unbeaten team in League play. They won all five games of a season-long home stand to equal the program’s longest win streak in three seasons. USD hits the road next week for games against Western Illinois (Thursday) and Omaha (Saturday).
Fort Wayne (15-6, 3-1) lost for the first time in six games and for the second time in its last 11. The Mastodons got 19 points from Luis Jacobo and 13 points off the bench from Mo Evans.
South Dakota led 33-23 at halftime and by 21 points at two different times in the second half. Fort Wayne drew within 11 at 64-53 behind back-to-back three’s by Evans with six minutes to go. Neither team scored in the next 2 minutes, 40 seconds. Rowson ended the drought with two free throws and scored in the lane on the next possession to push the lead back to 15.
Rowson was 6 of 10 from the field, 3 of 3 from beyond the arc and 6 of 6 from the free-throw line. His nine boards were a season high. He also had two assists and two steals.
The Coyotes held the Mastodons to their lowest scoring first half of the season. Fort Wayne made 9 of 26 shots in the opening stanza for 34 percent. The Mastodons committed 10 first-half turnovers and had 15 overall.
Mastodon big man Steve Forbes entered Saturday’s game averaging 12 points and five rebounds, both of which ranked second on the team. He attempted three shots against USD, had three points, one rebound and committed five turnovers. Foul trouble limited him to 16 minutes.
South Dakota’s big men were limited by fouls as well. Trevor Gruis scored nine points, but was whistled five times in 12 minutes of action. Starting forward Tyler Flack fouled out with nine minutes to go. He finished with eight points, six rebounds and three blocked shots.
The Coyotes closed the first half on a 19-8 run to take control of the game. Rowson scored seven points during the rally. Brandon Bos added five points and finished with 13. South Dakota got 11 points and 22 minutes from Adam Thoseby off the bench.
South Dakota out-rebounded Fort Wayne 39-28 and limited the Mastodons to five offensive rebounds and two second-chance points. The Coyotes have allowed 10 second-chance points in three Summit League contests.
Courtesy: Bryan Boettcher, USD