USD men vs. Dana

Survived today’s weather and had a surprisingly easy drive over to Vermillion for tonight’s USD vs. Dana College men’s basketball game.

USD comes in 4-5 and hasn’t played since Dec. 6 when it routed Chadron State. Dana College (6-7), an NAIA team in the Great Plains Athletic Conference, has four players averaging double figures.Word is, this is an exhibition game for the Vikings.

Tonight’s game also marks the first of four contests in six days for the Coyotes.

I’ll have periodic updates during the game.

— — — —

At the first media timeout (under 16), Dana leads USD 11-6.

The Vikings have really tried to push the tempo early and keep the Coyotes from getting set on defense. For Dana, senior forward Jon Person has four early points. Leading the way for USD is junior Tyler Cain, with three points. Freshman Louie Krogman drilled a three from the corner for the other Yote scoring.

The Coyotes have already brought in three reserves (Rane Mergen, Mitch Begeman and Ben Kreklow). Mergen always brings good energy off the bench, so I’m looking for him to have a big game.

— — — —

At the second media timeout, USD leads 16-15.

The Coyotes responded with a 9-0 run to take a 14-11 lead after a Cain free throw. Since he’s come in, Mergen has seven quick points.

It’s a sparse crowd here at the Dome. It’s finals week for USD students, so that side of the court is pretty light. The crowd behind me on press row is OK, nothing special.

— — — —

At the 7:36 mark of the first half, USD holds a narrow 24-22 lead.

Mergen, senior Steve Smith and senior Dylan Grimsley hit consecutive buckets, but Dana’s Jake Brandl responded with a nice running jumper off the glass.

Didn’t mention this before, but the Coyotes are sporting new jerseys. Same white look with red letters and numbers, but the words have a different font. I’ll have to show you a picture sometime, because they’re nice duds

— — — —

At the fourth media timeout, USD leads 35-25.

USD senior point guard Jesse Becker got on the scoreboard with a pair of free throws at the 6:44 mark. The Coyotes later took a 10-point lead after a Cain putback. Grimsley then hit a layup on a nice pass from Becker on the fast break.

The Vikings have slowed up offensively, due mainly to eight turnovers and a tightening USD defense.

It’s kind of lonely on press row tonight. I’m the only guy on this end near the Dana bench.

— — — —

HALFTIME: USD 43, Dana 31

Mergen leads the Coyotes with 12 points, while Cain and Begeman have 8. Cain has a team-high six rebounds and Grimsley has four assists. USD has hit 39 percent of its shots from the field, but has connected on just 1-of-7 three-pointers.

For the Vikings, Gabe Bross has 10 points and Jon Person has pulled down six rebounds.

After a slow start on both offense and defense, the Coyotes really started clicking after the third media timeout. USD led 24-22 but closed the half on a 19-9 run.

Quick note: Did you see that Penn State is giving Joe Paterno a 3-year extension? Are you serious? As I said to someone earlier, it sounds more and more like a lifetime position (much like the Supreme Court). Although, I suppose if the Nittany Lions keep winning, why not keep him?

Back with more later.

— — — —

At the first media timeout of the second half, USD leads 52-33.

The Coyotes began the half with a bucket by Cain, a basket and a free throw by Korgman, followed by a nice off-the-glass jumper by Grimsley. That made the score 50-31, USD’s largest lead of the game.

Jon Person responded with a jumper for Dana, but the Coyotes got a running jumper from Smith.

— — — —

At the 12:29 mark, the Coyotes lead 59-41.

We’ve got another media timeout coming at the under 12 minute mark.

Begeman just drained a three from the top of the key to give USD the 18-point lead. That broke a little dry spell for the home team. Meanwhile, Dana’s Jon Person has seven of his team’s 10 points here in the second half. Guy can flat shoot for a big man.

Dave Lias in the house, FYI. As is U.Dance.

— — — —

At the 7:16 mark, the Coyote lead has ballooned to 76-45.

USD just got back-to-back threes from Begeman and Becker. Begeman has a team-high 17 points, and just looked it up: His career high of 21 points came last year against Dana. Must be something about playing this team that Begeman likes.

It’s the same story tonight for USD as was the case in the last home game against Chadron State: Slow start, get the offense rolling, carries over to the defense, and an utterly dominating second half. The Coyotes have out-scored the Vikings 35-14 here in the second half.

— — — —

At the final media timeout of the second half, USD leads 88-49.

The Coyotes have seemingly planted themselves at the free throw line in the second half. Most of the last 20 points have come via the charity stripe…

….OK, mark it. It took me nearly 40 minutes to type “charity stripe.” That must be some kind of record.

Back with more after the game.

— — — —

FINAL: USD 94, Dana 58

Coyotes (5-5) get 18 points from senior Mitch Begeman.

Overall, another dominating second-half performance from USD on a very emotional night. The team got word that senior Steve Smith’s father Tim passed away suddenly on Sunday. USD coach Dave Boots said he “certainly appreciated” that Smith said he wanted to play tonight. I cannot even imagine what he’s going through right now.

You can read more about tonight’s game in tomorrow’s Press & Dakotan. I’ll also have more on Tuesday’s emotional win in our weekly USD Notebook for Thursday’s P&D.

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