Summit League Preview: Coyote Men Host York, Denver
To play or not to play?
That was the question facing South Dakota as they pondered what to do with an eight-day gap in their Summit League men's basketball schedule.
The answer? Play.
USD (12-15/4-9) will get in a tune-up game with the NAIA's York College, Wednesday night.
The Panthers (20-8), from York, Nebraska, have won five straight games, and are led in scoring by junior forward Cameron Coleman's 18 points per game.
York is in the top ten in the nation in steals and offensive rebounds.
Tipoff is 7:00 PM in Vermillion, Wednesday night.
Summit League action resumes Sunday, when Denver visits the DakotaDome for the final regular season home game in the history of the facility. USD opens a new on-campus arena next season.
The Pioneers (5-8/13-13) won the first meeting with the Coyotes, 66-52, last month in Colorado. In that game, DU's deliberate attack held South Dakota to its lowest offensive output of the season, limiting USD to just 2-of-13 from behind the three-point arc.
Offensively, Denver hit ten three-pointers, four from Thomas Neff. The Pioneers won the battle of the boards 31-28.
DU is last in offense and rebounding, second-best in points allowed, and tops in the Summit League in field goal percentage. Neff and Joe Rosga are among the top five most accurate three-point shooters in the conference. Rosga, the Pioneers leading scorer, has missed the last two games with a knee injury.
USD takes more shots per game than any team in the Summit League, but are next-to-last in field goal percentage. The Coyotes are second in assists and fewest turnovers. Tre Burnett is in the top ten in rebounding.
Tipoff is 2:00 PM in Vermillion, Sunday afternoon.
Last week, USD beat North Dakota State 72-58, putting together back-to-back wins for the first time since early December. The Coyotes led wire-to-wire, behind double-doubles from Burnette and Tyler Flack.
Defensively, South Dakota held the Bison to under 40 percent from the the floor, just 3-of-13 from the three-point line. USD outrebounded NDSU by eight and had ten offensive rebounds leading to 12 points.
Saturday, the Coyotes lost at South Dakota State 85-68.
For the second time against the Jackrabbits this season, USD held a double-digit first half lead, only to see SDSU erase it with a big run. This time it was a 30-2 spurt by the Jacks that turned the game around. Redshirt freshman Mike Daum led SDSU with 24 points on 7-of-11 shooting, George Marshall added 22 points. USD turned the ball over 16 times. leading to 23 SDSU points.
I talked with USD head coach Craig Smith about last week's split and this week's match-ups with York and Denver: