Summit League Preview: South Dakota Men at Purdue-Fort Wayne
The Coyotes (9-12/3-5 Summit League) start the second half tied for sixth place in the nine-team league, but they could easily be second or third at the midway point.
Three of USD's losses have come by six points or less and in three defeats they led at halftime.
There have also been significant injury issues for new head coach Todd Lee's team with a pair of starters affected. Forward Tyler Hagedorn is out for the season and forward Trey Burch-Manning is back after missing four games.
The Coyotes open the second half with one game this week - at Purdue-Fort Wayne.
The Mastodons (8-11/2-4 Summit League) looked like the team to beat in the Summit League early on as they rode a high powered offense to a 4-0 start in conference play. But their fortunes have changed lately with three losses in their last four games.
The biggest difference has been shooting accuracy. P-FW's shooting has been off about 20 percent during those three losses and scoring was down more than five points per game.
Fort Wayne did regain their touch the last time out, shooting 51 percent and hitting 12 three-pointers in a win over Denver.
The Dons are in the top ten nationally in three-point shooting and boast two of the top seven scorers in the conference - senior guards John Konchar and Kason Harrell.
Tipoff is 6:00 PM, Wednesday (January 30) in Fort Wayne.
USD pulled off an upset in the first meeting between the two teams, winning 87-73 in Vermillion.
The Coyote defense limited one of the best shooting teams in the Summit League to just 37 percent from the floor in the second half and forced 17 turnovers in the game, leading to 17 points.
USD shot 63 percent in the second half.
Stanley Umude's 26 points on 8-of-11 shooting led South Dakota. Matt Weir had 20 points, including five three-pointers, to lead the Mastodons.
Last Wednesday (January 23), the Coyotes welcomed Trey Burch-Manning back after he missed four games with an injury and he helped key a 70- 56 win at North Dakota.
The senior scored nine points, grabbed eight rebounds, and notched three steals in 27 minutes on the floor. He was one of six USD players to score eight points or more in the game.
The Coyotes used an 8-0 first-half run and a defense that allowed UND to shoot just 31 percent in the first 20 minutes to build a 12-point lead at intermission.
The Fighting Hawks shot the ball much better in the second half (52%) but couldn't any closer than six points as South Dakota limited their second chance opportunities.
Saturday (January 26) at home with Western Illinois, the Coyotes rebounded from an early six-point deficit to lead by five at intermission after limiting the Leathernecks to just 36 percent shooting in the first 20 minutes.
In the second half, that advantage quickly jumped to 12 points as USD hit their first three shots, but the rest of the half was a struggle for the Coyote offense. At one point South Dakota missed ten straight shots and watched as WIU scored 16 unanswered over a six-minute stretch to take a five-point lead.
The Coyotes did manage to tie the game again with 2:14 left, but hit just one field goal in the final two minutes, falling 65-59.
I talked with Coyotes head coach Todd Lee about last week's games and this week's match-up with Purdue-Fort Wayne: