What was scheduled to be a USD doubleheader today has now been trimmed down to only a men’s game.
Counting last Saturday’s men’s postponement against Mayville State, there have been a total of three Coyote games rescheduled in the last week. The USD women had both games this weekend postponed because of weather.
Anyway, to the matchup at hand.
The USD men (6-5) are playing host to NAIA Midland Lutheran (4-10). Remember how I said Roman Gentry would be eligible to play for the Coyotes on Friday? Apparently, folks around here thought the same thing. But Gentry will be available to play starting today.
The Coyotes boast one of the best players in the nation in junior forward Tyler Cain. In his first two seasons at USD, the 6-foot-8 Cain was known primarily as a defensive force. Not so anymore. Cain, fresh off a 24-point, 17-rebound performance Friday against Duluth, is the team’s leading scorer (16.5) and rebounder (10.8).
Midland Luthern boasts a pair of noteworthy players, in senior guard Luke Simons (13.6) and Evan Lamprecht (13.3). The Warriors haven’t been a strong rebounding team, as the leader in that department averages just 5.5.
It’s go time.
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The Coyotes have opened in a man defense, most likely to give the team an early spark. Cain has three early points as USD leads 6-3 at the 15:54 mark. Becker also drilled a three.
Mark it. Roman Gentry checks in at the 16:27 mark to a nice ovation from a sparse DakotaDome crowd. How sparse? Even U.Dance isn’t here. Darn. But A.D. Joel Nielsen is here chillin at press row.
USD goes on a 15-0 run which includes Gentry’s first points on a driving layup. Grimsley has hit back to back threes for the Coyotes, which lead 26-9. This hot start for USD is in vast comparison to the last few games, in which the first halves have been tight.
Becker hits a nice layup in transition, then gets the steal, misses another layup but Gentry is there for the putback. Midland Lutheran calls a timeout with USD up 30-9 at the 9:37 mark. 40 seconds later, we’ve got another media timeout. GPAC teams ain’t used to those, apparently.
We just had a three-minute Happy Gilmore conversation on press row. Classic.
The Warriors have put together a nice little 8-0 run, highlighted by junior Chad Langemeier (5 points). USD still leads 30-19 though, and Gentry is back in the game after the dead ball stoppage.
USD hasn’t hit a field goal in almost six minutes, but still leads 33-21 at the 3:58 mark. The drought ends at the 2:15 mark when Becker drills another 3. The Coyote lead is 40-25.
Becker beats the halftime buzzer with another running layup, and USD leads 48-29 at half.
FYI, the 48 points is the most USD has scored in the first half this season. Coyotes already have three players in double figures, with Smith (12), Grimsley (12) and Becker (10). Cain has nine rebounds and USD has already gotten to the free throw line (charity stripe?) 15 times.
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Midland Lutheran has opened the half on a 7-0 run, the latest basket coming on a steal & easy layup. USD coach Dave Boots emphatically calls a timeout. Coyotes lead 48-36. Krogman responds with a thre.
The Coyote lead is 55-43 at the 15:50 mark. Gentry just hit a runner in the lane and now has six points in his USD debut. The Warriors had cut the deficit twice in the last two minutes. The teams trade baskets and USD leads 57-47 at the 12:11 mark. Gentry hits the second of two free throws.
A basket by Evan Lemprecht at the 10:20 mark brings Midland Lutheran within eight points. But USD responds with baskets by Cain and Grimsley. Gentry follows a Warriors bucket with a pair of free throws. Coyotes lead 66-54 at the 7:57 mark. USD is a little out of sorts here in the second half and Midland is hanging around.
This game is almost a complete opposite of USD’s last three home games: In those, the first half was tight but the second half was one-sided.
OK, here it comes. USD has scored nine straight points and leads 73-54 with 5:43 to play. Begeman drilled a three to give USD a 78-56 lead, but the Warriors have hit two straight baskets. And that’ll do it.
FINAL: USD 64, Midland Lutheran 64
Had to be a strange game for the Coyotes to get amped for. The weather was wreaking havoc on USD women’s games this weekend, so the team probably wasn’t sure if they would play today. And plus, a 3 p.m. game is weird enough to play.
But all that considered, USD wins its fourth straight game. And the Coyotes will host a very dangerous Southwest Minnesota State team on Monday night. Should be a great matchup.