BY MICHAEL HAMMOND | Yankton Press & Dakotan
Nov. 17, 2016 | USD 80, Doane 46
VERMILLION, S.D. — The South Dakota Coyotes took down their second team in as many nights in a rare college basketball back-to-back in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center on Thursday in Vermillion.
The Coyotes rolled over Doane 80-46, just a day after winning against Presentation College.
The back-to-back was set up by the Gulf Coast Showcase allowing South Dakota to play a non-Division 1 team either a week before or after the tournament.
“We really debated on when to schedule them,” USD coach Craig Smith said. “It is good when you have so many young guys to really fine tune things, get everyone in the game, and show case what we’ve got. Fortunately we were able to do that.”
South Dakota needed no fine tuning to start the game as they jumped out to a 30-15 lead with Carlton Hurst, a 6-foot-3 guard tabbed to be the defensive stopper, scoring 10 of his game-high 15 points on 6-of-6 shooting from the field and 3-of-3 shooting from the line.
“I was just not forcing anything and letting the game come to me,” Hurst said. “If it’s a good shot, just take it and play through the offense.”
Hurst also electrified the crowd with a pair of big dunks in the half.
“I just do what the defense gives me,” Hurst said. “I can go up pretty easily and slam some down.”
Doane managed a 6-2 run at the end of the half and despite the 32-30 half time lead, the Coyotes shot just over 40 percent from the field and 12.5 percent from three.
“You don’t see many teams play back-to-backs and it was a concern,” Smith said. “It really showed in the first half.”
In second half the teams traded baskets to 41-30 before USD went on a 19-2 run holding Doane scoreless from 14:03 to 8:10 left in the half. During the run, Trey Burch-Manning scored half of his 12 points and Hurst scored the final two of his 15.
“To be able to jump out on that 19-2 run was certainly key,” Smith said. “We certainly stretched it out and put a stamp on the game at that point.”
From that point in the game it was mostly the bench that took over for USD with Triston Simpson leading the bench with 11 points, nine in the second half, as the Coyotes won 80-46.
“I thought Triston really had a good second half,” Smith said. “He is going to be a really good player for us. He has great poise, knows how to play, is crafty, guys really like playing with him, and thought he really responded in the second half.”
Dickerson scored the final of his 13 points in following the run and was the second of four Coyotes to reach double-figures in scoring. Dan Jech, starting for the injured Tyler Flack for the second straight game finished with seven points and tied freshman Tyler Peterson with 10 rebounds to lead the game. For the second night in a row, all 11 players for South Dakota recorded points.
“It doesn’t totally shock me,” Smith said. “I love the guys that are in our program and it’s exciting to see back-to-back games where everyone contributes.”
The win builds on USD’s best start in its Division-1 history and brings the Coyotes to 4-0 on the young season.
“We want to keep it up, but we want to keep it even keel as we head to the tournament down in Florida,” Hurst said. “It feels good to win, but we still have more ahead.”
South Dakota will head down to Estero, Florida, for the Gulf Coast Showcase and play three game Monday through Wednesday with an opening round game against Kent State, who has won 20 games in three of the past five seasons under head coach Rob Senderoff.
“Anything is possible, they are great teams down there,” Smith said. “Win or lose we could play Houston, who a lot of people think is a top-25 team, or we are going to play George Mason and their great basketball tradition, making the Final Four how many ever years ago.
“It is going to be a fantastic tournament for us and I can’t wait to find out what we’re made of.”
On the other half of the bracket, Hofstra takes on Bradley and Wofford faces Vermont. Wofford last made the NCAA tournament two season ago and Vermont five seasons ago.
“I think we can do some big things,” Hurst said. “We have a great team and a lot of people don’t know what we are capable of because we have a new team, so I think we will surprise a lot of people.”