Summit League Preview: Coyote Men Host Fort Wayne, Oral Roberts
Last February, the South Dakota men's basketball team was 5-2 in February, turning around a slow start in Summit League men's basketball to finish two games above .500 in conference play. The 2016 Coyotes are going to need something similar to finish this regular season at break even.
USD (10-13/2-7) has dropped three straight, six-of-seven overall, heading into a match-up with first place Fort Wayne at the DakotaDome
The Mastodons (18-6/7-2) won the first meeting with the Coyotes, 85-65, in Indiana last month. Four players scored in double figures for IPFW, including a double-double (15 points/10 rebounds) from the league's leading rebounder, redshirt freshman John Konchar. In that game, the Dons shot 52 percent and outscored USD 44-28 in the paint.
IPFW has won four of their last six despite losing their second leading scorer, Mo Evans, for the season, due to academic issues. They are the number one three-point shooting and rebounding team in the Summit.
Tipoff is 7:00 PM in Vermillion, Thursday night.
Saturday, the Coyotes host Oral Roberts.
USD won the first meeting, 94-84, in Tulsa last month. Tre Burnette and Casey Kasperbauer combined for 42 points and the Coyote defense forced 22 turnovers in that game, as ORU played without the conference's pre-season player of the year Obi Emegano, who was out with an injury.
Omegano has returned for the last six games and has scored 30, 20, 29, and 27 points in the last four, but the Golden Eagles (11-12/3-6) are just 3-3 during that stretch.
Oral Roberts is last in the league in turnovers and next-to-last in points allowed.
Tipoff is 2:00 PM in Vermillion, Saturday afternoon.
The Pioneers came out hot in Thursday's game, with three of their first four field goals coming from behind the three-point arc. DU outscored USD by 24 from long range in the game, and shot 51 percent overall. The Coyotes' Tre Burnette was limited to 1-for-9 shooting in 19 minutes of action.
Saturday, the Mavericks got a combined 50 points from Devin Patterson and Jake White, but the Coyotes were down just one with 14 minutes left until UNO went on a 12-0 run to seal the win.
For the second straight game USD made just two three-pointers.
I talked with USD head coach Craig Smith about last week's losses and this week's match-ups with Fort Wayne and Oral Roberts: