As if tonight’s USD vs. Seattle men’s game didn’t already need more intrigue, North Dakota has made things interesting.
Last night, the UND men pulled a somewhat surprising upset in a 73-68 win over Seattle up in Grand Forks. The same Seattle team that had won 10 straight games, had won 10 Division I games, and had beaten the Coyotes 73-59. For the record, USD had beaten the Sioux twice.
Now, the Seattle Redhawks (18-7) are in Vermillion.
Buckle in, this could get interesting.
In their last game, the Coyote men (19-7) crushed Southern Illinois-Edwardsville 107-73. USD had seven — count ’em, seven — players in double figures in the win.
And then, USD had a full week to prepare for Seattle, a team Coyote coach Dave Boots said could be one of the most talented teams to come to the Dome in quite some time.
Seattle starts Mike Boxley (6-5), Michael Wright (6-5), Shaun Bur (6-1), Chris Gweth (6-1) and Austen Powers (6-8)
USD goes with the usual five of Louie Krogman, Jesse Becker, Dylan Grimsley, Tyler Cain and Steve Smith.
Let’s do this.
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One more quick note: Tonight is senior night for the USD men (and women), so each of the seniors were honored before the game. Nice round of applause for this group of four for the men, would have been five but Steve Smith was granted an extra year.
Good energy from the Coyotes in the early going, as the home team leads 7-4 at the first media timeout. Oh yeah, forgot to mention, tonight’s game is being televised on Midcontinent Communications, channel 23 I believe. Grimsley has five points so far, three coming at the free throw line after he was fouled on a three-point attempt. Krogman hit another running floater in the lane for USD’s other points.
Seattle has gotten it going, leading 12-11 at the 11:24 mark Boxley, wearing double zero, has six early points. Off the bench for the Coyotes, Roman Gentry hits a jumper in the lane. I said this last week about Edwardsville, but this visiting team is even more athletic. Even nine minutes into the game, you can see why D-I teams have trouble with them.
The lead has changed hands five straight times. Krogman hit a runner off the glass to give USD a 17-16 lead, causing Seattle coach Joe Callero to call a timeout. Following the break, Cain dunks one home and Grimsley follows with a three-point play. Becker later hits a three, and USD is up 25-20 at the 7:15 mark.
In one series, Coyotes get like 3 or 4 offensive rebounds, capped off by a Gentry three-pointer. Seattle’s coach calls another timeout as the home team lead is out to 30-20 at the 5:37 mark. Cain has come alive for USD – the junior has 13 points, including back-to-back muscle moves to the hoop. (Tried a new phrase there).
Seattle’s coach goes ballistic after another foul was called on his team, all I heard was something about “South Dakota” and “integrity of the game.” Guy must just be peeved from last night’s loss. At any rate, Callero is teed up and spends 20 seconds barking at one of the refs. When it’s all said and done, Becker hits both free throws.
To close the half, Becker hits five free throws in the final minute. USD leads 44-33 at the break.
HALF: USD 44, Seattle 33.
The Coyotes shot 42 percent in the first half, with a 10-of-11 clip at the free throw line. Cain has 13 points and six rebounds, while Becker and Grimsley each have eight points.
Seattle shot 41 percent, 2-of-7 from three and 3-of-7 at the line. Boxley and Broussard each have seven points.
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Seattle hasn’t missed from the field in the second half over the first three minutes. Powers hits a free throw and then a three-pointer, while Boxley, Wright and Burl each hit baskets. For USD, Becker drains a pair of threes, but the Coyote lead is down to 50-45.
Wright hits back-to-back baskets for Seattle, but Cain responds with a spin move in the paint for two. Hold up, the Redhawks missed a shot. USD leads 54-49 at the first media timeout of the half. U-Dance is on its fourth different wardrobe of the night, in case you’re curious.
Cain has three straight baskets for the Coyotes, who have jumped back out in front 62-51 at the 11:14 mark. The junior forward now has 21 points. Becker (14) and Grimsley (10) are also in double figures for the home team.
Coach Callero of Seattle has yelled out some of the best one-liners I’ve heard in a while at a hoops game. The latest was, “This is college basketball, these guys get up pretty high, man!” Another one, “In college basketball, that’s called a block!” FYI, the USD lead is 69-56 after a Begeman three.
Becker and Cain hit baskets, but Powers responds for Seattle. The Coyote lead is 75-66 at the 6:09 mark. Less then 2 minutes later, USD’s lead is down to 76-74. Seattle is on a 9-1 run, including a bucket and free throw from Powers. This one has really gotten tight.
Who does USD go to when it needs a basket on senior night? Becker. Dude strokes a three from the top of the key to pull the Coyotes ahead 79-74 with under four to play. Seattle’s Gweth hits a three at the 3:36 mark to pull the Redhawks within 80-77. After two free throws from USD’s Gentry and Seattle’s Burl, Powers ties the game with a three-pointer. Burl is then fouled on a three-point attempt, and hits 2 free throws.
With 40.8 seconds left, Gentry drives to the basket and hits a running layup, and is fouled in the process. He hits the free throw, giving USD an 85-84 lead. Here we go. After the timeout, Boxley drains a three from the top of the key with 12.4 seconds. Racing down the court, Becker is tied up and calls a timeout. Coyotes are down 87-85.
After the USD timeout, the ball is knocked loose, is kicked around toward mid-court. Before the Coyotes can grab it and get off a shot, the buzzer sounds. That’s it.
FINAL: Seattle 87, USD 85.
Tough loss, no question. Seattle fought back and hit a clutch shot.