South Dakota Doesn’t Foul When Up 3, Avoids OT Scare
It isn't pretty and it isn't fun, but fouling when up three points in the closing seconds is the right call to make. South Dakota didn't foul, and it nearly cost them a shot at the NCAA tournament.
Up 68-65 with 15 seconds left, Western Illinois drove down the left side of the floor. South Dakota had a foul to give because it only committed five fouls in the second half.
The Coyotes instead played the possession out, and it nearly cost them a chance at an NCAA tournament bid. C.J. Duff knocked down a tough corner 3-pointer with 12 seconds remaining and forced overtime.
The 15 seconds remaining on the clock made the finish a tricky one for South Dakota. But with a foul to give, the Coyotes should've fouled Western Illinois before Duff even got the 3-pointer off.
After the foul-to-give that should've come, South Dakota could've fouled again and forced the Leathernecks to either rebound a missed free throw or attempt to steal an inbounded pass.
Hindsight is 20/20, but the number-crunchers back the decision to foul. And most coaches would likely agree that fouling late when you have a foul to give is preferable.
In the end, it didn't matter. South Dakota played its hardest when the season was on the line and came away with a 78-69 victory.
However, these end-of-game situations and coaching decisions are certainly something to keep an eye on as the Summit League tournament continues and the NCAA tournament begins.