Summit League Preview: South Dakota Men Host North Dakota State, North Dakota
With just two games remaining on the 2019 Summit League regular season schedule, South Dakota has the potential to land at any one of four different spots when the seedings are announced for the conference tournament.
The Coyotes (11-16/5-9 Summit League) could be seeded as high as fifth if they sweep this week and Oral Roberts loses in their finale at Omaha.
On the other hand, if USD stumbles twice this week they could be destined for a number-eight spot in Sioux Falls.
The week begins at home with North Dakota State, Thursday (February 28).
The Bison (14-14/8-6 Summit League) have lost consecutive games for the first time since early December as they try and overtake Purdue-Fort Wayne for the number-three seed in the Summit League Tournament.
NDSU is tops in the conference in defense, allowing just 74 points per game. They've allowed fewer than 74 in four of the last five and held high powered Omaha to just 58 points last time out.
Junior guards Tyson Ward and Vinnie Shahid combine for 27 points per game, while junior reserve Deng Geu, a Sioux Falls native, scores ten a game in 18 minutes.
Tipoff is 8:00 PM, Thursday in Vermillion.
NDSU won the first meeting 71-65 back in the conference opener in late December in Fargo.
The Coyotes shot a blistering 61 percent in the first half and held the Bison scoreless for a six-minute stretch to lead by 11 at intermission.
But USD would hit on just 38 percent of their shot attempts in the second half, as Sioux Falls native Deng Geu keyed an NDSU comeback with 11 of his 20 points in the second half as the Bison outscored the Coyotes 43-28 in the second 20 minutes.
NDSU committed just two turnovers in the second half and outscored USD by seven at the free throw line.
Stanley Umude had a double-double (17 points/11 rebounds) in a losing effort.
North Dakota comes to Vermillion Saturday to close out the regular season.
The Fighting Hawks (11-16/5-9 Summit League) and Coyotes begin the week with identical records. UND is coming in off of back-to-back wins and their best shooting performance in the last nine games (52% against Denver).
In that game, North Dakota got a boost with the return of starting forward Conner Avants, who had missed the previous six games with an injury. Without him, UND went 2-4.
Guard Marlon Stewart leads the team with 15 points per game. He's third in the Summit in assists and has scored 40 points in the last two games.
Guard Cortez Seales is averaging 13 points per game.
Tipoff is 3:30 PM, Saturday in Vermillion.
The Coyotes won the first meeting 70-56 last month in Grand Forks.
USD used and 8-0 run early to lead by as many as 11 in the first 5:15 of the game. Umude scored all 12 of his points in the first half as the Coyotes forced nine turnovers, held the Fighting Hawks to just 31 percent from the floor, and led by 12 at intermission.
Stewart had a big second half for UND, scoring 18 of his 22 points, as the Fighting Hawks cut the lead to six points with 5:30 left.
But South Dakota finished 4-of-7 from the floor and 8-of-10 from the free throw line the rest of the way.
Triston Simpson and Brandon Armstrong led the Coyotes with 13 points each. The game saw the return of Trey Burch-Manning to the lineup after he missed four games with a foot injury.
Last Wednesday (February 20), the Coyotes beat Denver 72-45 win in Vermillion.
USD blew open a close game with a 23-5 run the end the first half. During that stretch, the Pioneers went just 2-of-10 from the floor and turned it over four times. They finished the first half shooting just 28 percent.
The Coyotes led by 14 at halftime and forced eight straight DU misses at one point in the second half, outscoring the Pioneers 29-11 over the final 13 minutes of the game.
Stanley Umude had a double-double for South Dakota with 18 points and ten rebounds.
The Coyotes knocked down 13 three-pointers and had just seven turnovers.
Saturday (February 23), the Coyotes came out hot at South Dakota State, hitting better than 60 percent from the floor in the first ten minutes. Logan Power scored seven points off the bench during that stretch.
With SDSU's Mike Daum on the bench with early foul trouble, USD took advantage, hitting eight three-pointers in the first 11:30. Cody Kelley had four on his own and finished the first half with 16 points.
The Coyotes led by as many as 16 in the first half, but that lead was cut to 11 at the break on a Skyler Flatten basket late. Flatten finished the first half with 15 points.
In the second half, several USD players got into foul trouble and SDSU took advantage going on a 10-2 run to tie the game with 13:37 left.
Jackrabbit senior Tevin King keyed the second half comeback with 16 of his career-high 22 points.
Despite going just 3-of-13 from the three-point line in the second half, the Coyotes held a one-point lead (85-84) with 1:12 left, but ten seconds later Daum picked just the right moment to become only the tenth player in NCAA history to score 3,000 career points, hitting a basket to put SDSU up for good.
Daum led all scorers with 25 points. Kelley's 21 led USD.
I talked with Coyotes head coach Todd Lee about last week's games and this week's match-ups with North Dakota State and North Dakota: