VERMILLION, S.D. (USD) — Kansas City graduate transfer Evan Gilyard II scored a season-high 31 points and the Roos forced 17 turnovers en route to a 68-57 win against South Dakota Wednesday inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.
The Roos improved to 6-6 on the season and 1-1 in Summit play. The Coyotes, 7-6 overall, dropped their first two Summit games at home after going 6-0 in Vermillion during non-conference play.
Gilyard was 9-of-14 from the field including 5-of-8 from 3-point range. He also made 8-of-11 from the free-throw line. He more than made up for the absence of leading scorer and rebounder Josiah Allick who missed his second consecutive game with a back injury.
“We’ve had quick guards in Abmas (Oral Roberts), Cone (Northern Arizona) and Gilyard – it’s a common theme, they’ve all had big nights,” said USD head coach Todd Lee. “He made some really big shots tonight and hats off to him.”
Gilyard had 20 in the first half and that’s where the game was won. Kansas City made six 3-pointers in the opening stanza while South Dakota was 0-for-5. Worse, South Dakota committed 11 first-half turnovers to two for the Roos. That came two nights after USD committed three against Oral Roberts. The Coyotes made half their shots – 8-of-16 – but took 12 fewer than Kansas City in the first half.
“They are a team that plays a little different than everybody else in the league in the way they pressure and we turned it over 17 times, which is way too many,” said Lee. “They played harder than us, tougher than us, which is disappointing. We had to get to the line more than them, a lot more than them, and we didn’t do that either.”
South Dakota was in the bonus before committing its first foul in the first half, but made 10-of-16 free throws. The Coyotes were 5-of-6 in the second half, but were outscored at the line 19-15.
Mason Archambault scored 14 points to pace South Dakota, but was limited to 24 minutes due to fouls. Tasos Kamateros had nine points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Xavier Fuller, Kruz Perrott-Hunt and Erik Oliver chipped in eight points each.
South Dakota is off for a week for the Christmas break. The Coyotes return to the court Dec. 30 against North Dakota in Grand Forks.