VERMILLION, S.D. (USD) — Drake shot 47 percent from the field and made 20 of 29 from the free-throw line to spoil South Dakota men’s basketball’s home opener Friday night inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.
The Bulldogs, still unbeaten at 7-0, defeated the Coyotes for the second time this season, this one a 75-57 decision behind a 25-point, five-assist performance from guard Roman Penn.
South Dakota, falling to 1-6, was paced by Stanley Umude with 14 points while A.J. Plitzuweit had 12 and Xavier Fuller 11.
Drake scored the final eight points of the first half, turning a narrow two-point advantage into a 37-27 halftime edge. Then, the guests, used a 10-1 spurt early in the second half to push the lead to 17 points.
“We haven’t finished halves well and we’ve talked to our team about that,” said USD head coach Todd Lee. “They got up 10 in the second half and they just lived in the lane and we fouled them 15 times. They did a really good job mixing up their defenses and that’s what you do against a younger group.”
South Dakota cut the deficit to 55-44 nine minutes into the second half before another short Drake spurt, this one a 10-2 run that pushed the advantage up to 65-46.
Penn was 7 of 10 from the field, 9 of 10 from the line and dished out a game-high five assists. Tremeill Murphy added 15 points and a game-high seven rebounds. The Bulldogs also got 12 points each from ShanQuan Hemphill and D.J. Wilkins.
The Coyotes shot 43 percent for the game including a 4 of 15 effort from beyond the arc. Drake used a full-court press to help force 18 turnovers and outrebounded USD 34-23.
The Coyotes close non-conference play with a Sunday home contest against Mount Marty. The Summit League opener is Jan. 2 versus Denver.