VERMILLION, S.D. (USD) — South Dakota battled with the best team in the Summit League but came up short in an 82-70 win for Oral Roberts Thursday night in Vermillion.
The Golden Eagles are now one win away from completing the Summit League slate unblemished and improve to 26-4 overall. The Coyotes lost their fifth straight game and drop to 11-16 (6-11 Summit).
A game-high 20 points from Tasos Kamateros was not enough for the Coyotes to overcome the Golden Eagles. Kamateros went 8-of-11 from the floor and hauled in a team-high nine rebounds. It was the fourth 20-point performance for Kamateros this season. A.J. Plitzuweit scored 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting and 4-of-7 from deep while Kruz Perrott-Hunt added 14 points on 6-of-17 from the floor. All three double-digit scorers for South Dakota tonight came off the bench. USD shot 42.9 percent from the floor and the three-point line tonight. They also outrebounded ORU 37-34.
Oral Roberts got out to an 11-0 run to start the game before the first media timeout of the first half. A three from Max Burchill at the top of the key ended the drought at 14:26 and jump-started the Coyote offense. The Golden Eagles led by as much as 13 at the midway point of the first half. South Dakota was keeping pace with ORU and managed to trim the lead down to one after a Plitzuweit three-point basket capped off a 10-0 run for the Coyotes with five minutes to go. Oral Roberts then held South Dakota to five more points the remainder of the half and went into the locker room up 10.
In the second half, ORU managed to create some space in the scoring with a 53.6 shooting percentage in the second half. They also were 7-of-14 from three in the second half. The Golden Eagles created their biggest lead of the game with a 27-point margin with eight minutes remaining. South Dakota continued the fight the rest of the way as they ended the game on a 13-3 run but fell by 12 points when the final buzzer sounded.
Oral Roberts had four score in double-figures led by Connor Vanover. Vanover had 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting and nine rebounds. Max Abmas was held quiet for most of the game but scored points late in the second half to keep ORU ahead by double-digits. Abmas had 18 points on 7-of-17 shooting and 2-of-10 from deep. Kareem Thompson had 16 points while Carlos Jurgens scored 15 points to round out the double-digit scoring efforts. Jurgens recorded a double-double by adding 10 rebounds to his line. Oral Roberts shot 48 percent from the field and 32 percent from three in the game.
The Coyotes still have a chance to avoid the opening day of the Summit League tournament with a high-stakes contest against Kansas City Saturday night. The winner of the game is awarded the No. 6 seed in next week’s tournament. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. from the Sanford Coyote Sports Center with Senior Night festivities before the game.