The University of South Dakota men could win the Great West Conference regular season title tonight.
Enough motivation to follow along?
I sure hope so. We’re in for a good one, either way.
Tonight, the Coyotes (18-9, 9-1) host Houston Baptist (10-19, 9-2), which is a half-game behind USD.
I won’t mess around much with a setup, just sit back and enjoy this contest. (Also senior night for USD)
USD — Kendall Cutler (G), Jake Thomas (G), Roman Gentry (G-F), Tyler Cain (F) and Steve Smith (C).
Houston Baptist — Miles Dixon (G), Michael Moss (G), Wendell Preadom (G), Andrew Gonzalez (F) and Mario Flaherty (F)
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Quick start for the visiting Huskies, as leading scorer Andrew Gonzalez has 6 points right away. Make that 8, as he just scored again. HBU leads 14-9 with 14:31 left in the first half.
Not much of a crowd to speak of, but the bleachers behind the benches are nearly full. The energy will pick up down the stretch. Of course, it is spring break for the students.
The Huskies have two really scorers on this team, with Gonzalez (18.3) and Mario Flaherty (13.7). Plus, Wendell Preadom, who averages 13.4, dropped 30 in a win at North Dakota on Thursday.
The HBU lead is 18-15 at the 11:54 mark of the first half. USD got a three-pointer from Thomas and a free throw by Cain ahead of the media timeout.
Steve Smith is having a nice game already for the Coyotes. Coming into tonight, he needed 37 points to reach 1,000 for his career. Probably won’t get there by the end of this one….but he’s certainly on pace. The big man has drained a pair of threes at the top of the key.
Coyotes are on a 16-4 run and lead 27-24 with 7:21 left in the half.
HBU head coach Ron Contrell, in his 19th season, is starting to chirp more and more to the refs. Something about them not seeing enough Division I games. Didn’t catch the exact quote. But the visiting radio guys to my right were saying the same thing.
At any rate, USD has pulled in front by 12, 38-26.
Pretty play by the Coyotes the last time down the court. Reserve Mitch Bouie drove the lane, had 2 defenders in his face, and dumped off a pass under an out-stretched arm to a waiting Cain who dunked. USD leads 40-31 at the under-4 timeout. Would’ve loved to hear Gus Johnson on that last play.
Man, talk about a high-scoring half. It’s 45-35 USD with 12.8 seconds to go. Gonzalez hits the second of 2 free throws on the trip down, and HBU can’t hit a shot at the buzzer.
HALF: South Dakota 45, Houston Baptist 36
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At halftime, the two seniors (Kara Iverson and Jasmine Mosley) on the USD women’s basketball team were honored, along with their parents. I just snapped a photo of the Iversons and uploaded it to Facebook.
Think the pace has slowed down?
Huskies were down 11 at the 19:12 mark, and within the 16:57 mark, the USD lead is 51-49. This is one athletic team visiting the Dome tonight, plain and simple. Runnin’ around, moving the ball, spinning in the paint, all that you’d expect to see. Plus, they seem to not to be shy on the confidence.
All the energy is now with the team in blue.
Fred Hinnenkamp drains a three from the corner to give the Huskies a 52-51 lead at the 16:38 mark. That got the HBU bench even more fired up. Then Gonzalez gets a nice reverse layup to push the lead to 54-51.
Gentry then drains a three for the Coyotes to tie the game at 54 ahead of the media timeout. Buckle in.
Louie Krogman has drained 3 three-pointers in like two minutes for USD, which has pulled in front 68-66 with 11:42 to play. You won’t see too many frenetic paces like this.
Andrew Gonzalez has 24 points for HBU.
The threes are all falling for USD right now. Gentry and Smith hit back-to-back treys, giving the Coyotes a 74-66 cushion. This place is rocking.
Here’s a stat for you — in Thursday’s win, USD was just 1-of-14 on threes. Tonight (with 10:44 to go), USD is 12-of-21.
The 17-0 run for the Coyotes was just snapped as HBU got a layup to bounce in at the 7:29 mark. Quite a stretch for USD, which has gotten 21 points from Gentry and 18 from Krogman.
With 3:55 to play, USD leads 87-76. And for some reason, this place is dead quiet right now. Conference title much?
OK, I wasn’t going to say this, but these 2 Houston Baptist radio guys are pissing me off. Little comment after little comment after little stupid comment. Not exactly major homers (from what I can tell), but worse than any other crew I’ve heard. Enough with that.
Krogman just drained another three. Kid is on fire tonight. He’s got 26 points off the bench, and Gentry has 24. The lead is 90-76 with 3:23 to play Here’s another stat: Tyler Cain has only 5 points.
The three USD seniors were just replaced to a huge ovation from this crowd.
And that’ll do it. Coyotes clinch the Great West Conference regular season championship.
FINAL: USD 97, Houston Baptist 84