The South Dakota men's basketball team played three impressive halves to start the Summit League schedule last week, but it was that fourth 20 minute stretch that kept the Coyotes from starting 2-0.

USD (10-7/1-1) begins week two on the road at Denver.

The Pioneers (9-5/1-0) have undergone a major transformation under new head coach Rodney Billups. Denver is no longer running the deliberate Princeton-style offense that resulted in fewer points and fewer possessions. The Pioneers now routinely score over 70 points a game, and have done so five times during their current six-game winning streak.

Denver starts three sophomores, including guard Joe Rosga, who is in the top ten in the league in scoring and three-point shooting. He made nine triples in a game earlier this season.

Junior Daniel Amigo is in the top ten in rebounding for a team that has the second highest rebounding margin in the Summit.

Tipoff is 8:00 PM (CT) Wednesday in Denver.

The Coyotes return home Saturday to host IUPUI.

The Panthers (7-8/1-0) are led by seniors Darrell Combs and Matt O'Leary, who both score in double figures and combined for 48 points in their week one win against Western Illinois.

IUPUI is the top overall rebounding team in the Summit League and #1 on the offensive glass as well. They are also second in points allowed per game.

Tipoff is 3:15 PM Saturday in Vermillion.

South Dakota split the opening week of the Summit League schedule, winning at home against Omaha, 86-69, and losing 73-72 at South Dakota State.

Against the Mavericks, the Coyotes got off to an impressive start and never looked back. Matt Mooney knocked down a trio of first half three-pointers while Trey Dickerson added 10 points in the first 20 minutes.

The USD defense was tough in the first half, limiting Omaha to just 26% shooting overall, 0-of-7 from behind the three-point arc.

The Coyotes won by 17, after leading by as many as 26. Last season, USD blew a 21-point second half lead and lost to the Mavericks in Vermillion.

South Dakota finished the week at South Dakota State and the Coyotes got off to a slow start, playing without Tyler Flack, who missed the game with a knee injury.

With the Jackrabbits sitting in a zone defense, USD could only manage 31 percent shooting in the first half, including just one made three-pointer in 16 attempts.

The Coyotes, down eight at the break, found their shooting touch early in the second half, going on a 17-3 run to start with Mooney, Dickerson, and Carlton Hurst all hitting from long range.

The USD defense kept SDSU's all-conference forward Mike Daum scoreless for the first 10:38 of the second half, but Daum took over the game late, scoring all of the Jackrabbits field goals in the final 9:30 to finish with 30 points.

Daum's final bucket of the night, which proved to be the game winner, came with five seconds left after the Coyotes had taken a one-point lead on a Trey Burch-Manning three-point play.

I talked with Coyotes head coach Craig Smith about last week's split and this week's games with Denver and IUPUI: