Summit League Men: South Dakota Tops Fort Wayne in Battle of Unbeatens
The so-called 'experts' who forecast Summit League basketball had South Dakota near the bottom of the standings in the pre-season rankings, but two weeks into the conference schedule, it's the Coyotes standing all alone on top, knocking off previously unbeaten Fort Wayne 75-61 Saturday in Vermillion.
Trevor Gruis got the Coyotes off to a good start with 5 of USD's first 8 points, but that would be it for the center's first half scoring, as he went to the bench with 14:56 left with two fouls.
Karim Rowson picked up the scoring slack going 3-of-6 from the floor, including a pair of three-pointers, to key a 10-1 run for the Coyotes, pushing the South Dakota lead to 23-16 with 5:30 left.
The USD defense kept to Mastodons at bay, forcing 10 first half turnovers and outrebounding IPFW 23-17.
Neither team shot the ball well in the first half, both at 35%, but USD made up for it by shooting 63% from 3 (4 in the first half) to stretch the lead to 33-23 at intermission.
In the second half, Gruis keyed an early run with four quick points, but he also picked up his 3rd foul just :45 in, and went to the bench after three minutes.
The Coyotes carried on without him, hitting 5-of-8 (62%) to start the half, scoring 12 of the first 18 points of the half, opening up a 45-29 lead with 15:15 left, the lead was as many as 21 later.
Rowson led USD with a career high 21, Brandon Bos added 13, and Adam Thoesby 11. The Coyotes outrebounded the Mastodons 39-28 and forced 15 turnovers.
The Coyotes play at Western Illinois Thursday night at 7:00pm.