Summit League Preview: South Dakota at Denver
A streaky first half to the Summit League season is over for the University of South Dakota, as the Coyotes take a quick breather from conference play to host Peru State Tuesday night in Vermillion.
USD dropped its last for games in league play to close the first half, after starting the Summit League schedule with three straight wins.
Against North Dakota State last Thursday, the Coyotes saw the #1 shooting team in the country hit 50 percent against them at the DakotaDome and race out to an 11-point halftime lead, before USD switched things up in the second half and nearly won the game late.
Head coach Joey James told me about how his team held the Bison to 26 percent shooting and 22 points in the second half:
Against South Dakota State Saturday, the Coyotes again rallied at home from a double digit deficit, this time 15 points in the second half, to have a chance to tie or win the game late, coming up just short again.
USD did a lot with a little in the first half, grabbing a one point lead over the Jackrabbits at the break, despite each Coyote starter having just one field goal in the first 20 minutes:
So at the halfway point of the Summit League slate, South Dakota is 3-4, but could just as easily be 6-1, after losing their last three by a combined seven points, with USD having the ball in the final minute of each with a chance to win or tie:
Tuesday the Coyotes host a non-conference tune-up with NAIA's Peru State. Coach James says there is a definite purpose for this game at this time on the schedule:
Tipoff is 7:00pm Tuesday in Vermillion.
The second half of the Summit League season for USD starts Saturday in Denver. The Coyotes beat the Pioneers in Vermillion back in week 1 on the strength of 57 percent shooting for the game (63 percent in the first half).
South Dakota got a double-double (19 points/10 rebounds) from Trevor Gruis, outscored Denver by 12 in the paint, won the battle of the boards by 8, and limited the Pioneers to just 26 percent shooting in the second half.
Coach James is expecting the Pioneers to force his team into a very deliberate game Saturday night:
Tipoff is 5:00pm CST in Denver Saturday.