College Basketball Invitational: South Dakota Ends Season with Loss to North Texas
In 28 games over the first two seasons at the Sanford Sports Complex in Vermillion, South Dakota had been nothing short of dominant with 26 wins and just two defeats - both at the hands of North Dakota State.
But in the opening round of the 2018 College Basketball Invitational, it was another team in green, the Mean Green of North Texas making themselves at home in the Coyotes den.
The at-large entrant from Conference USA put on a long range clinic in Vermillion, hitting 14 three-pointers in a 90-77 win.
North Texas’ sophomore guard Roosevelt Smart connected on seven of those threes and scored 23 of his game-high 34 points in the second half.
The Coyotes shot under 38 percent from the floor, but really struggled from behind the arc making just 6-of-33 (18%).
The Coyotes hit their first three shots to grab an early four-point lead, but the Mean Green went to work from the three-point line with three of their first four field goals coming from long range. Michael Miller had six early points and the North Texas lead was one. Miller finished with 19 points. Jorden Duffy also added 19 points.
USD came back with seven straight points, as Trey Burch-Manning hit his first four shots and scored nine of the Coyotes first 18 points to give the home team a six-point advantage. Burch-Manning finished with 14 points.
That lead quickly evaporated as Smart drained back-to-back three-pointers in less than 30 seconds, keying a 10-0 Mean Green run that eventually ballooned to an 11-point lead. North Texas hit seven threes in the first 14 minutes of the game.
Desptie turning the ball over six times in the first 20 minutes, going just 2-of-11 from long range, and watching leading scorer Matt Mooney hit just three of his first eleven shots, South Dakota chipped away to make it a four-point game (39-35) at intermission.
North Texas led even though they only shot 38 percent from the floor. The Mean Green made up for it at the three-point line, making eight of the 16 shots they took, outscoring USD by 18 points from long range in the first half.
The visitors came out of the locker room red hot, hitting 9-of-15 to start the second half, including four three-pointers, while USD could manage just just four field goals during that stretch, missing seven of their first eight from behind the arc to eventually trail by as many as 22.
South Dakota, down 20 with 5:12 left, went on a 19-7 run to pull to within eight in the final minute, but the Mean Green made 5-of-6 from the free throw line late to secure the win.
Mooney led USD with 22 points, but finshied just 8-of-28 from the floor, 2-of-14 from three.
The Coyotes finish the year 26-9.
North Texas (16-17) meets the winner of the Mercer - Grand Canyon game in round two.