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Huskies Beat Cougars at the Line

Derek Brown, University of Sioux Falls Cougars
University of Sioux Falls

SIOUX FALLS, SD — The University of Sioux Falls was dealt just their second home loss of the season Saturday night, when St. Cloud State University converted 23 second half free throws to pull away from the Cougars for a 83-73 victory at the Stewart Center. The Huskies dominance on the glass and efficiency at the line resulted in USF’s seventh loss of the season.

A.J. Holland led three players in double figures for the Cougars. He buried three shots from 3-point range and went 2-of-2 at the line for 17 points, while Derek Brown and Bryan Kielpinski chipped in 11 points each.

Saturday was the first time in Kielpinski’s young career he turned in back-to-back double digit performances. His point total also tied his career-high.

The loss puts USF back below .500 at 6-7, 2-7 in league play, and lifts SCSU to 11-2, 7-2 in conference play.

Riding the high from Friday’s big win, the Cougars got off to a strong start, jumping out to a six-point lead with 15:08 to go in the first half.

Following a timely 3-pointer from Brown, they were once again ahead, this time 18-17 half way through the first period. It was a tied game with just over 5:00 to play, but the Huskies closed the half on a 16-7 run, knocking down three 3-pointers in the final 2:00 to take a 39-30 lead into the break.

The Cougars didn’t shoot it particularly well in the first half, where they fired at a 43.5% clip, but their bigger concern was stopping SCSU’s Damarius Cruz. Cruz scorched USF with 16 points in the first half where he was 6-of-7.

USF continued to fight after the break and mid-way through the second half they put together a 6-0 to cut their deficit to five points, 52-47. They kept the game in single digits over the next few minutes, but once the Huskies reached the bonus near the 8:00 mark, the visiting team attacked the basket and made their free throws, stretching their lead to as many as 15 points.

Holland made two 3-pointers in the game’s final minutes to make it an eight-point game, but it was too late. Theo Rothstein’s free throws made for the final score, 83-73.

SCSU’s domination on the offensive glass, where they grabbed 12 boards, led to 22 second chance points. They outrebounded USF 34-23 on the night. The Huskies tallied 35 points at the free throw line in comparison to 19 for the Cougars. SCSU is the fifth USF opponent to attempt 25 free throws or more.

On the flip side, USF did a great job taking care of the ball. They had just seven turnovers.

Cruz led all scorers with a career-high 25 points for SCSU. Shaun Jensen netted 11-of-12 attempts at the line to post 17 points, while Connor Niehaus and the Huskies’ leading scorer Theo Rothstein, added 12 and 11 points respectively.

The Cougars cap their three-game homestand Tuesday, January 15 when they host Southwest Minnesota State University.

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Courtesy:  University of Sioux Falls

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