The University of South Dakota avenged its 30-point loss earlier this season in Brookings by holding off SDSU for a 72-68 win in front of 5,189 raucous fans at the DakotaDome in Vermillion.
USD (9-14, 4-10 Summit) opened the first half in red-hot fashion. Louie Krogman, who was held in check during the first meeting, hit four first half three pointers and the Coyotes led 29-8 with eight minutes left. The Jackrabbits (19-7, 11-3 Summit) were provoked only a little to close the gap in the game and pulling within 10 points at halftime, 34-24. The Jackrabbits made nine first half field goals, none from three-point range.
“They got after us and we didn’t respond very well,” SDSU’s Chad White said.
The second half proved to be more the same until the Jackrabbits finally found a rally behind their three-point shot. Even then, USD was able to stay out front by shooting 68 percent in the second half. SDSU finally pulled the game within six points with a Wolters three with 2:45 left. He followed it up with another three-pointer and the Jackrabbits were within three points.
USD forward Ricardo Anderotti slammed a dunk to put the Coyotes up five with 30 seconds left and a Griffan Callahan three-pointer pulled the game to within two at 70-68. With the lead back to three after a made free throw, SDSU had two chances in the final 10 seconds to get closer with one-and-one free throw chances. Both Tony Fiegen and Wolters missed on the front end and the Jacks saw their chances extinguished when USD’s Trevor Gruis made one free throw to seal the game.
“We knew that this would be a big game for them and we should have approached it the same way,” SDSU head coach Scott Nagy said.
The Coyotes got 22 points from Krogman and 18 points from Charlie Westbrook in the win.
Wolters scored 27 points but it took him exactly that many shots to reach that number. White was the only player to have a consistent night throughout for the Jacks, ending with 17 points.
“It’s a bad loss because it’s a conference loss and it we were trying to compete for a conference championship and it doesn’t make any sense for us not to show up,” Nagy said.