SIOUX FALLS – USD head coach Todd Lee picked up his first Summit League Tournament victory Saturday, but his Coyote squad couldn’t withstand the two-time defending conference champion North Dakota State Bison Monday night in the Sanford Pentagon.
“This group should be extremely proud of our year,” Lee said. “We did a lot of things this year nobody thought we could.”
The Coyotes built up an eight-point halftime lead thanks to strong defense and a balanced offensive attack. The same couldn’t be said for the second half, where NDSU was able to build some momentum and finish the game on a 22-9 run to win 79-75.
“They (NDSU) kept crashing the boards and the offensive rebounds started adding up,” Senior Stanley Umude said. “They just seemed like they had more of an edge to them at the end and once they got the lead it was tough for us to fight back.”
Rocky Kreuser tallied 20 points and nine rebounds for the Bison. Kreuser scored half of his points at the free throw line, where NDSU was 24-of-31 as a team. Sam Griesel added 16 points, including 13 in the second half.
“In the first half we were just playing soft,” Griesel said. “In the second half we really focused on getting downhill, getting to the free throw line, and once we got into the paint, we were just being patient and play with poise.”
Tyree Eady was the third Bison player in double figures, he tallied 14 points.
Umude, USD’s lone senior, tallied 23 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Umude has yet to make a decision on his extra year of eligibility.
“He’ll (Umude) go down as one of the greatest player to ever play at USD, no matter what happens,” Lee said. “We’ve all seen what he can do on a basketball court, but people need to know that he’s, first and foremost, just a great person.”
Junior Xavier Fuller pitched in 19 on 9-of-15 shooting. Tasos Kamateros and Kruz Perrott-Hunt added 14 points each. The Coyote starters accounted for 74 of the team’s 75 points. The lone point came from a Damani Hayes free throw, and none of the bench players recorded a shot.
USD was picked fifth in the Summit League and lead the conference for most of the regular season. Lee could return his entire line-up again next season if Umude decides to take the extra year of eligibility.
“I just want to give a lot of credit to coach Lee and he’s done a terrific job,” NDSU head coach Dave Richman said. “That was the reason he was the coach of the year and getting that group, was a bunch of new faces, and the way they responded and competed without Plitzuweit. It’s a real credit to him and his staff.”
North Dakota State now plays for its third consecutive Summit League Championship Tuesday night. The Bison will play Oral Roberts. Both teams will be playing their third game in three days and tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. in the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls.
Follow @BaileyZubke on Twitter.
NORTH DAKOTA STATE 79
Jared Cook 2-9 0-0 5, Maleeck Harden-Hayes 3-4 1-2 7, Tyree Eady 5-13 3-6 14, Rocky Kreuser 5-7 10-11 20, Sam Griesel 5-15 6-8 16, Dezmond McKinney 2-5 3-3 7, Odell Wilson IV 1-2 0-0 2, Grant Nelson 3-4 1-1 8. TOTALS: 26-59 24-31 79.
SOUTH DAKOTA 75
Stanley Umude 5-15 11-16 23, Mason Archambault 2-5 0-0 4, Xavier Fuller 9-15 0-0 19, Tasos Kamateros 6-8 1-2 14, Kruz Perrott-Hunt 4-5 2-2 14, Damani Hayes 0-0 1-2 1. TOTALS: 26-48 15-22 75.
At Half: USD 40, NDSU 32. Three-Pointers: USD 8-18 (Perrott-Hunt 4-5, Umude 2-4, Kamateros 1-2, Fuller 1-4, Archambault 0-3), NDSU 3-14 (Nelson 1-1, Eady 1-4, Cook 1-4, Kreuser 0-1, Griesel 0-2, McKinney 0-2). Rebounds: NDSU 35 (Kreuser 9), USD 26 (Umude 9). Personal Fouls: USD 24, NDSU 19. Fouled Out: USD 2, NDSU 0. Assists: USD 14 (Umude 5), NDSU 7 (Eady 3, Griesel 3). Turnovers: USD 14, NDSU 12. Steals: NDSU 5 (Cook, Eady, Kreuser, McKinney, Wilson IV), USD 3 (Archambault 3). Blocked Shots: USD 3 (Archambault 2), NDSU 2 (Nelson 2).