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Ward’s Career Night Leads USF To 85-75 Victory

Charles Ward, University of Sioux Falls Cougars
University of Sioux Falls

SIOUX FALLS, SD — Charles Ward scored 23 points, shooting 8 of 9 from the field, to lead Sioux Falls 85-75 over Wayne State College in front of a crowd of 727 Friday night at the Stewart Center.

The Cougars had four players tally double-digits, paced by Ward’s career-best performance. Jordan Stotts had 14 points, Robert Goffney finished with 11 and Mahlon Jones chipped in 13 off the bench for USF (5-1, 2-0 NSIC), who shot 51 percent as a team and 40.9 percent from behind the 3-point arc.

USF surged ahead 7-3 to start the game, and Jones hit two free throws to put the Cougars up 14-9 at the first media timeout. But the Wildcats responded with a 10-0 burst kick-started by back-to-back threes from Gary Ross to take a 26-21 lead with 8:39 to play.

Stotts and Ward hit three-pointers consecutively to move USF back in front but then the gane saw the two teams trade buckets with neither side able to build more than a four-point advantage for the remainder of the first half. The Cougars held a 46-42 edge at halftime thanks to a Goffney desperation jumper as time expired.

USF led 53-44 at the 17:33 mark in the second half with another Ward jumper. The Cougars’ largest lead of the night came off penetration when Ward charged toward the basket then kicked the ball out to a wide-open Stotts, who had ample time to set his feet and hit a three to put USF up 12 at 65-53.

Wayne State battled back and got to within 73-66 with 5:36 to play, but the Cougars netted four straight points and hit enough free throws down the stretch to claim the 85-75 victory.

USF held a slight 30-29 rebounding edge, while the Wildcat bench outscored the Cougar reserves 28-23. USF accumulated 21 points off of 17 Wildcat turnovers and struggled from the line, converting just 24 of 36 attempts (66.7%).

Aluong Adol led Wayne State (3-3, 0-2 NSIC) scorers with 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting.

USF closes out a five-game homestand Saturday with a 6 p.m. tilt against rival Augustana College.

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Courtesy:  University of Sioux Falls

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