Summit League Preview: South Dakota Men at Western Illinois
With just five games to play in the 2019 Summit League regular season, South Dakota is trying to break out of a log jam for a potential sixth-seed at the conference tournament in Sioux Falls next month.
The Coyotes (9-15/3-8 Summit League) begin the week as one of three teams with a trio of wins in the Summit.
Their only game this week is with another of those teams - Western Illinois.
The Leathernecks (8-16/3-8 Summit League) have dropped three straight since beating USD in Vermillion last month. Two of those losses came by a combined three points.
WIU is led offensively by sophomore guard Kobe Webster who is seventh in the conference in scoring, eighth in three-point shooting, and fifth in steals.
Senior center Brandon Gilbeck is one of the top post players in the Summit and will pose a match-up problem for the Coyotes. Gilbeck leads the conference in blocked shots, is third in rebounding, and is fifth in field goal percentage (54%).
The Leathernecks are last in the Summit in points scored and rely heavily on their defense to win games. They have not won a game this season when an opponent has scored 70 points or more (0-14).
Tipoff is 2:00 PM, Saturday (February 16) in Macomb.
Western Illinois rallied from a 12-point second half deficit to beat South Dakota 65-59 in Vermillion last month.
The Leathernecks outscored the Coyotes 26-9 in the final 11 minutes of the game, holding USD scoreless over one seven-minute stretch.
South Dakota shot just 33 percent in the second half.
Last Thursday (February 7) at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, the Coyotes rallied from an 18-point second half deficit against Omaha, taking the lead with 9:06 left and extending that advantage to as many as six points in the final three minutes.
But the Mavericks his a pair of three-pointers in the final 30 seconds of regulation to send the game to overtime where they pulled out a 107-102 win.
Zach Jackson (27 points) led three different UNO players with 20 or more points. Triston Simpson and Stanley Umude each had 24 points for USD.
The Coyotes hit a season-high 14 three-pointers in the game.
Back in Vermillion Sunday (February 10), South Dakota and Oral Roberts traded the lead in the first half with the Coyotes leading by as many as six and the Golden Eagles going on a 22-8 run to lead by as many as eight points.
ORU broke the game open with a 13-1 second-half run to go on to win 86-72.
South Dakota was outrebounded 32-24 and give up 40 points in the paint.
Kevin Obanor led the Golden Eagles with 24 points. Triston Simpson had 20 for USD.
I talked with Coyotes head coach Todd Lee about last week's losses and this week's match-up with Western Illinois: