ST. PAUL, Minn. (USD) — South Dakota bounced back from a heartbreaking loss Thursday to top St. Thomas Saturday night by a final score of 81-67 in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The Coyotes have now completed the season sweep of St. Thomas for the second year since the Tommies joined the Summit League. Entering the game at 1-7 in road games, South Dakota handed St. Thomas its first home loss of the season. The Tommies were previously 10-0 inside Schoenecker Arena. The win helped South Dakota to a 10-12 overall record and 5-5 in Summit League play. St. Thomas drops to 14-10 and 5-6 in the conference.
Improved shooting percentages in the second half led the way for South Dakota. After shooting 51 percent from the field and 27 percent from three in the first half, USD recorded a 61.9 percent shooting percentage and a 66.7 three-point percentage in the second 20 minutes of play. They also made 14-of-20 from the free-throw line in the second stanza after not attempting a free-throw in the first half. Overall, USD shot 55.8 percent from the floor and 45 percent from three.
Tasos Kamateros led the Coyotes in scoring for the second straight game with 20 points on the night. Kamateros went 8-of-17 from the floor and made three from deep. He also recorded a game-high nine rebounds. Kruz Perrott-Hunt added 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting and 3-of-4 from the arc. Damani Hayes had three and-one opportunities tonight and posted a career-high 13 points on 6-of-7 from the field. Hayes also hauled in six rebounds. A.J. Plitzuweit and Mason Archambault rounded out the double-digit scoring efforts with 11 points each. Plitzuweit and Archambault also went a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line to ice the game. Archambault tied his career-high with six assists for South Dakota.
An early 5-2 lead was the largest of the game for St. Thomas. The Tommies had a couple of small leads in the second half, but South Dakota never let the game unravel from them. The Coyotes entered the half with a nine-point lead after a corner three from Paul Bruns. UST came out of the break on an 8-0 run to dwindle the Coyote lead down to one. The two teams traded leads as South Dakota had an answer for almost every basket by the Tommies. The game looked as though it may be another close ending as USD owned a one-point lead midway through the second half. With 8:16 left in the game, UST’s Parker Bjorklund sank two free-throws to swing the lead back to St. Thomas. Hayes turned the momentum to South Dakota for good with two huge and-one opportunities. Hayes converted the three-point play and made another basket in the lane followed by a Max Burchill jumper to put South Dakota ahead by six with six minutes to go. A three-pointer from Perrott-Hunt and another jumper by Burchill built the lead to double-digits with two minutes to go. From there, the game was won at the free-throw line as South Dakota’s final 10 points came from the charity stripe to cement a 14-point win on the road.
While shooting at an effective rate, the Coyotes held St. Thomas to 39.3 percent shooting and 30 percent from the arc. Bjorklund scored a game-high 26 points followed by 24 points from Andrew Rohde, but no one else did much damage of the offensive end for St. Thomas. The next highest scorer for the Tommies was Brooks Allen with seven points. South Dakota also outrebounded St. Thomas 38-24 and had nine more assists on the night.
The Coyotes stay on the road and close out the road trip at Oral Roberts Monday night in a rescheduled contest. The Golden Eagles defeated Omaha 73-64 tonight to stay undefeated in conference play and undefeated at home. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. from the Mabee Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.