South Dakota Coyotes Lose Close Game but Shine on National Television
It's been a long time since I've found myself legitimately excited over a South Dakota basketball game. Last night, I turned on Fox Sports 1 and found myself enthralled in one.
The South Dakota Coyotes entered Tuesday night's game against Creighton with a 3-6 overall record. Add playing in front of 16,000 people, a home winning streak of 23 games, and the game being on national TV, the odds seemed to be stacked against them.
What we saw, and the entire country saw, was a team that wouldn't give up. The Coyotes led by three at the half, and had to fight back in the second half to get the game to overtime.
Enter Tyler Larson. Larson connected on clutch three pointer at the end of regulation to send the game to extra minutes. Larson finished the night with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
Creighton took control of overtime and led by seven at one point. Game over? Not exactly. Larson connected on another three pointer, and Trey Norris hit a three at the conclusion of the overtime period to tie the game once again.
The fight didn't end in the second overtime, but Creighton became just a bit too much for the Coyotes. The Bluejays extended out their lead by five in the late moments of the second overtime. USD senior Brandon Bos hit a three that brought the Yotes within two, but that was it. The Bluejays hit another free throw and held on to defeat the Coyotes 91-88.
The last few minutes of regulation, first overtime, and second overtime was as thrilling of an end to a basketball game that I've seen in a long while. Add the fact that it was South Dakota that did it, props to them. I legitimately jumped off my couch a few times during the game.
It's been a long road for USD men with the movement from Division II to Division I. Having gone to college during the time they made the transition, it was very special to see the team perform the way they did last night. The excitement itself had people from around the area and country talking.
Congratulations to Craig Smith and USD Basketball. It was a game last night that will be remembered for a long time.
South Dakota will now move on to face UNLV at the Sanford Pentagon on Saturday.