South Dakota Upsets Denver in Summit League Opener
South Dakota provided a rude Summit League welcome to Denver Saturday afternoon in Vermillion with a 59-54 win over the team picked to finish second in the conference.
It may have been the first conference game for each team, but both the Coyotes and Pioneers shot the ball like they were in mid-season form. USD hit 63% from the floor, Denver 52%, including 6-of-14 from the 3-point arc.
Trevor Gruis was a force to be reckoned with in the first 20 minutes, hitting 6-of-9 for 16 of the Coyotes 34 points, he also pulled down 5 rebounds.
USD led by as many as 5, but Denver’s Brett Olson kept his team close with a trio of 3-pointers and 13 first half points.
34-31 Coyotes at the break.
South Dakota kept up the torrid shooting to start the second half, hitting 6-of-9 to start, extending the lead to as many as 11.
The Pioneers narrowed the gap to three with the help of full court pressure which seemed to disrupt the Coyotes offensively.
With 52 seconds left, Denver had a chance to pull within a point, but Cam Griffin missed a pair of free throws to keep it 57-54.
USD’s Brandon Bos put the game out of reach moments later when he drained a pair from the charity stripe, and the Coyotes had the five point win.
South Dakota shot a blistering 57% for the game, led by Gruis with double high, 10 rebounds and a season-high 19 points. Bos added 15.
Olson paced Denver with 22 points, pre-season all-conference first team player Chris Udofia was limited to just 10.
The Coyotes (6-9/1-0) host IUPUI and Fort Wayne in next week’s Summit League action.