The University of Sioux Falls men's basketball team suffered a 77-57 NSIC loss Saturday night to Wayne State College in the Cougars’ final home game of the season. Trailing by four points at the break, USF went cold and the Wildcats caught fire, as they shot a staggering 65 percent in the final period to record their 16th win of the year.
Tonight’s game served as the final home contest for USF seniors Patrick Coughlin, Bill Freeman, A.J. Holland, David Maxwell and James Rader.
The loss puts the Cougars at 11-13 overall and 7-13 in NSIC play. It also snapped a three-game winning streak for USF.
It was anyone’s game in the first half.
USF didn’t get off to a great start. Four minutes into the game, they were down 9-2, but they countered with a 14-2 run capped by a steal and fast break Holland dunk to claim a 16-11 lead at the 11:24 mark of the first half.
The Wildcats began to heat up from deep and made their push. Led by Ryan Rolfzen, who accounted for a trio of first half 3-pointers himself, WSC converted five shots from 3-point range to close out the half and take a 32-28 lead into the break.
USF actually shot 50 percent, 10 percent better than WSC, and outscored the Wildcats 16-4 in the paint, yet trailed at half.
WSC couldn’t seem to miss in the second half. The combination of Army Shelby, who posted 23 second half points and 15 baskets on 23 attempts by the visiting team meant a world of trouble for USF.
A Latroy Wright jumper put the Wildcats ahead 39-28 at the 17:23 mark. With nine of their next 11 points coming from seniors, USF climbed their way back into the game and trailed by just three points, 45-43, with 14:11 to play.
Then Shelby and WSC shut the Cougars down offensively and ran away with the game. They applied a 16-3 run to go up 65-49 with 5:32. USF would cut their deficit to as few as 13 points before falling by 20 points at home.
USF netted their fewest number of three point makes in eight games with only four tonight. They were also outscored in bench production for the first time in six outings.
Shelby led all scorers with 32 points and six assists. Ty Bauschek and Rolfzen also recorded double digits for WSC. Bauschek tallied 14 points, while Rolfzen added 11.
Senior Holland led USF with 14 points, finishing 6-of-11 from the field. He also went 2-of-4 from behind the arc. Fellow senior Rader nearly turned in a double-double with 13 points and eight rebounds. Robert Goffney added 11 points for the Cougars. He did most of his damage at the line, where he was a perfect 5-of-5 tonight.
USF concludes regular season play with a road trip to Concordia-St. Paul and Minnesota State next weekend.
Courtesy: Dennis Gamble, USF