SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Tajavis Miller hit a game-winning layup to push North Dakota State over South Dakota 70-68 in a thrilling quarterfinal contest.
A Coyote attempt to win the game missed and no foul was called as the Bison sent a pro-USD crowd home unhappy late Sunday night at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center. NDSU’s Miller was credited with the block on the play.
North Dakota State (19-12) advances to play second-seeded South Dakota State in Monday’s semifinal at 8:30 p.m. South Dakota ends the season 12-19.
A crowd of 5,846 was treated to a thrilling contest as the longtime foes exchanged the lead 12 times.
“Survive and advance,” NDSU head coach David Richman said after the game. “We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time. Give them credit, but this is about as proud I’ve been of a group.”
Richman said seven Bison players were playing their first game in Sioux Falls and said his team calls itself the “baby bison.”
Grant Nelson, the 6-foot-11 playmaker, carried the Bison down the stretch – doing most of his damage from the free-throw line. Nelson finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double. Boden Skunberg added 17 points and Miller finished with 12 points.
“We played well enough to deserve to win,” USD head coach Eric Peterson said. “We will back here though and we will win games in this tournament.”
The Coyote trio of Kruz Perrott-Hunt, A.J. Plitzuweit and Tasos Kamateros helped lead South Dakota. Plitzuweit finished with 17 points, while Perrott-Hunt had 16 points. Kamateros finished with a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds.
“I don’t know if it was a foul or not, but I know we executed the play really well,” Kamateros said on the Hayes’ layup attempt at the end.
NDSU held a 33-25 halftime lead, outsourcing USD 20-10 in the paint and scoring 7 points off Coyote turnovers.
The Coyotes, ranking seventh-best in the country in 3-point shooting entering the conference tournament, had a dreadful first half shooting behind the arc – going 1-of-11.
South Dakota started the second half outscoring NDSU 25-15 through the first 10 minutes.