For the first time this Summit League season, the South Dakota men's basketball team is dealing with a stretch of adversity that has seen them fall from the top of the conference standings to smack dab in the middle.

The current USD losing streak stands at three games, the last two losses coming at home, including last Thursday's 66-55 loss to Fort Wayne. In that game, the Mastodons went on a 16-4 run to end the first half and shot 53% for the game, while center Steve Forbes dominated with 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting.

Coyotes head coach Craig Smith used the words "manhandled" and "big boy-ed" to describe what happened to his team against Forbes and IPFW:

Two days later, USD led much of the way against Oral Roberts before falling late, 73-72.  The Coyotes squandered a 10-point halftime lead and struggled with the Golden Eagles press in the second half to lose for the third time in four Summit League games at home this season.

Coach Smith on the Oral Roberts game:

Photo by Dave Eggen/Inertia

USD has one home game left in this stretch, Thursday night against a Western Illinois team they beat in Macomb, 68 -58, last month.  In that game, the Coyotes got 34 points off the bench, grabbed 14 offensive rebounds, and had scoring advantages on second chance and points in the paint.

One of the keys was shutting down the Leathernecks talented sophomore Garret Covington, who had 15 points in the first half, none in the second half.

Coach Smith on the rematch with Western Illinois:

Tipoff is 7:00 PM Thursday in Vermillion.