ST. PAUL, Minn. (USD) — Mason Archambault scored a career-high 27 points to lead South Dakota to its fourth straight victory and a 90-79 win at St. Thomas Saturday inside Schoenecker Arena.
It was the first meeting between the two programs. The Tommies (8-10, 2-4 Summit), in the their first season of a transition from NCAA Division III to Division I, got 24 points from Riley Miller and 19 from Anders Nelson, but dropped their third straight.
South Dakota (11-7, 4-3) shot nearly 60 percent from the field and beat St. Thomas at its own game – the 3-point shot. The Coyotes made 12-of-18 from downtown one game after making a Division I-era record 17 in a win at Omaha. St. Thomas, which averages 14 triples a night, made 10-of-26 Saturday.
Archambault was 9-of-13 from the field including 6-of-9 from beyond the arc. The Coyotes also got 22 points from Kruz Perrott-Hunt, 14 from Tasos Kamateros and 13 from Boogie Anderson.
“Mason has 27 points and a lot of times he’s guarding the best perimeter player too,” said USD head coach Todd Lee. “Mason had just one turnover tonight in 36 minutes. I thought he and Boogie, even though their two guards scored the basketball, they had to work for it. Mason and Boogie both did a great job.”
South Dakota shot 64 percent in the first half (16-of-25) and made 8-of-12 three-pointers, but had to settle for a 43-43 tie at the break. The Coyotes led briefly by nine, but the Tommies ended the half on a 15-6 run after Ryan Lindberg’s 3 at the first-half horn.
It was tied at 63-63 with a little more than eight minutes to go. A key sequence ensued that started with two free throws from Perrott-Hunt. Archambault recovered to block a Miller layup on the defensive end and then Perrott-Hunt buried a triple on the other end to make it 68-63.
It stayed at least a two-possession lead for South Dakota until Brooks Allen’s layup cut the lead to 78-75 with a minute left. But Perrott-Hunt made two free throws and the Coyotes broke a full-court press with a Damani Hayes score and foul. South Dakota sealed it at the free-throw line.
Archambault was coming off a 25-point outburst last weekend against Omaha. He logged his third 20-point effort of the season Saturday. Perrott-Hunt has surpassed 20 points four times this year.
South Dakota will try to make it five in a row Monday in a makeup game against Western Illinois in Macomb. Tip is 6 p.m. The Leathernecks are 12-7 overall and 3-4 inside the Summit following a 93-75 loss to South Dakota State Saturday in Macomb.