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Cougars Win NSIC Home Opener

Robert Goffney, University of Sioux Falls Cougars
University of Sioux Falls

SIOUX FALLS, SD — The University of Sioux Falls men’s basketball team has been a different unit when playing in front of a home crowd, and Saturday night was no different. The Cougars heated up in the second half, where they fired at a 58% clip to turn in a season-high 46 points and run away with a 77-68 victory over Concordia University-St. Paul in the first-ever Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference men’s basketball game played at the Stewart Center.

Senior forward David Maxwell led the Cougars in scoring with a season-high 19 points, including 14 in the final period. Fellow senior A.J. Holland added 17 points for USF hitting 4-of-6 attempts from behind the arc.

The win marks the Cougars’ first NSIC win of the season and extended their home win streak to 20 straight. USF improved to 5-3 (1-3 NSIC) in 2012-13, while CU dropped to 1-6 (0-4 NSIC).

Both coming off tough losses, the teams went back and forth early, as the score was tied four times in the first half.

USF claimed a quick four-point lead in the opening minutes, but CU answered and led by as many as six points on four separate occasions. Trailing 34-28 with 31 seconds left in the period, the Cougars held the ball for a final shot and found Maxwell open on the win. He nailed a momentum-changing 3-pointer as time expired to make it 34-31, CU at intermission.

After shooting 36% in the first half, the Cougars slowed the game down and took good shots to dominate the second half, where they connected on 58% of their tries.

A staggering 29 fouls were committed in the final period, leading to a combined 36 free throw attempts. Both teams shot it well at the stripe, but the difference was possessions, as the Cougars turned defense into offense, converting 13 Golden Bear turnovers into 13 second half points.

Following a James Rader steal, Maxwell split a pair at the line to push USF’s lead to 10-points with 3:43 to play. CU came within seven points of the home team twice, but that is as close as they would come before the Cougars picked up their first conference win.

Led by Cole Olstad, the Golden Bears finished with three players in double-figures. Olstad tallied 16 points, while Isaiah Thomas and Terez VanPelt added 13 apiece.

In addition to Holland and Maxwell, Jerry Dixon also had a big night for USF. Dixon posted a career-high 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field. He also recorded an impressive six steals, which was both a game and career-high.

USF hosts Minnesota State University, Mankato Saturday at the Stewart Center. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.

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Courtesy:  University of Sioux Falls

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