VERMILLION, S.D. (USD) — South Dakota responded in a big way after Monday’s game with a 71-62 win over North Dakota State Thursday night inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.
The win snapped a five-game skid against NDSU for the Coyotes and improved their record to 11-13 (6-6 Summit) this year. The Bison lost their third of their last four games and drop to 9-14 (6-5 Summit).
South Dakota received a 23-point performance from Tasos Kamateros to lead the offense. Kamateros went 8-of-11 from the field and 4-of-5 from the three-point line. He also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds on the night. Kruz Perrott-Hunt added 15 points tonight and is only four points shy of 1,000 career points. Perrott-Hunt went 6-of-12 from the floor and had three rebounds. Max Burchill tied a career-high with 11 points on 5-of-13 shooting. Burchill added two rebounds, two assists, and a steal to his stat line. A.J. Plitzuweit and Damani Hayes had eight each while Mason Archambault had a team-high five assists and seven rebounds. The Coyotes shot 43 percent from the floor and 40 percent from three as a team. They had 13 assists on the night and surrendered only eight turnovers.
“The biggest message we sent to our guys yesterday and in film today is we’re going to find out what type of team we are,” said USD head coach Eric Peterson. “If we show up and compete, we’ll be just fine. I’m really proud of our defensive effort, especially in the first half. We know we got another tough one on Saturday.”
The Coyotes held North Dakota State to 27 first-half points. NDSU shot a little over 40 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes but made 2-of-10 from the arc. South Dakota jumped out to a six-point lead with 13 and a half minutes left in the first half after a Plitzuweit layup in the lane. The Bison continued to fight back and gained a four-point lead with five minutes to go in the half. A 12-0 run in two minutes pushed the Coyotes back in front by eight. The run started off a Burchill made three-pointer and followed with a Plitzuweit jumper in the paint. Burchill scored another bucket in the lane and a Kamateros three and a Perrott-Hunt jumper capped the run with one minute to go. Grant Nelson made his 10th point of the half to cut the USD lead down to six at the break.
The first double-digit lead of the game came at the 18:15 mark of the second half off Perrott-Hunt’s three-point basket to put South Dakota ahead by 10. The Coyotes made timely baskets on the offensive end and shut down NDSU’s attack on offense to build a 17-point lead midway through the half. As North Dakota State trimmed the lead down to 11, Burchill came through in a big way. The sophomore guard read a handoff nicely and was able to pick the pocket of Tajavis Miller at half-court. Burchill sped down the court and went up for a dunk that ignited the Coyote crowd. Two baskets from Kamateros after that put South Dakota in front by 18 points with less than six minutes to go – its largest lead of the game. North Dakota State simply would not go away as they made this a game late. An 11-0 run beginning at the 4:54 mark of the second half made it a five-point game with a minute to go. The Coyotes were able to keep their composure and sink free-throws down the final seconds to take tonight’s game by nine points.
Boden Skunberg tied Kamateros with a game-high 23 points for the Bison. Coming off a career-high 36 points in his last game, Nelson was held to 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting. Nelson mustered only three points in the second half thanks in part to the defense of Burchill and Hayes – the two guys assigned to him for most of the game. Miller rounded out the double-digit scoring efforts for NDSU with 11 points on 4-of-11 from the floor. After Jacari White and Damari Wheeler-Thomas combined for 35 points in the first meeting with South Dakota, White scored two points while Wheeler-Thomas was scoreless in tonight’s game. The Bison shot 39.7 percent from the field in the game and 28.6 percent from deep. They were turned over 13 times and had nine assists.
South Dakota looks to keep the momentum rolling with another game on Saturday afternoon. The Coyotes host North Dakota in the annual Native American Heritage game at 1 p.m. Saturday inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center. The Fighting Hawks dropped their contest at South Dakota State tonight by a final score of 96-73.