MACOMB, Ill. (USD) – Despite foul trouble and Stanley Umude’s absence in the second half, the South Dakota Coyotes came away with the 65-60 win over Western Illinois Friday night inside Western Hall.
The Coyotes (7-6, 5-0 Summit) extend their win streak to six games and stay undefeated in conference play while the Leathernecks (2-10, 0-5 Summit) are still in search of their first win of 2021.
USD and WIU run it back for the final game of the two-game series Saturday at 7 p.m. inside Western Hall.
“You’ve got to give Western Illinois credit for how they played,” head coach Todd Lee said. “They play really hard and we need to do a better job adjusting offensively to what defenses they throw at us tomorrow. I thought we played well on the defensive side of the ball.”
USD was led by sophomore forward Tasos Kamateros with 15 points. The Athens, Greece, native tied his career high set last season on 7-of-12 shooting from the field and grabbed four rebounds on the night. Two other Yotes recorded double figures in A.J. Plitzuweit with 13 points and Xavier Fuller with 14 points.
“Tasos did a great job at scoring the basketball down low,” Lee said. “He had a lot of open looks tonight and took advantage of those.”
Will Carius and Tamell Pearson led the Leathernecks with 21 and 19 points respectively.
The Yotes received points from three different Coyotes in the opening minutes of the game to take a 9-2 lead. The Leathernecks then went on a 9-2 run of their own to tie things up at 11 all with 11:26 remaining in the first stanza.
Momentum changed in the Leathernecks favor for the moment after Umude picked up his third foul of the game with 6:45 left in the first half and remained on the bench the rest of the half. The Yotes struggled offensively the rest of the half but only trailed by one, 29-28, heading into the intermission.
After a Fuller 3-point play and back-to-back buckets by Kamateros, USD jumped out to a 35-31 lead early in the second half. WIU answered USD’s hot start with a 6-0 run to take back the lead 37-35 with 14:43 left on the clock.
Foul trouble plagued USD once again as Plitzuweit picked up his fourth foul with 5:14 left in the game and USD held a 53-48 lead. As soon as Plitzuweit left, Western Illinois mounted a 9-2 run to take a 56-55 lead with just under three minutes to play.
Clutch free throws and a step back jumper from Kamateros kept the Leathernecks at bay in the final three minutes to give the Yotes the win.
USD shot 43 percent from the field (23-53) and 33 percent from deep (6-18) while the Leathernecks shot 33.9 percent from the field (20-59) and 25 percent from deep (5-20). The game featured 13 ties and 18 lead changes.