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Coyotes Clips Golden Eagles’ Wings In Weekend Opener

Women Win Big 77-54, Men Take 86-84 Thriller
Published: Feb. 21, 2021 at 12:27 AM CST
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VERMILLION, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - WOMEN’S RECAP

Five Coyotes scored in double figures as the Coyotes defeated Oral Roberts 77-54 inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.

It had been 48 days since South Dakota (13-5, 9-2 Summit) last played a game on Abbott Court. Due to a COVID-19 related cancellation, the Coyotes played all eight of their Summit League road games consecutively. It tied for the longest stretch of consecutive road games by any team this season.

“Our attention to detail and intensity on the defensive end, especially in the first half really set us up for success this afternoon,” said USD head coach Dawn Plitzuweit. “It was great to be back home and get to play in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center!

“Remember to wear pink tomorrow as we work to continue to raise awareness for breast cancer in our annual Pink Game.”

Senior center Hannah Sjerven notched her sixth 20-point game of the season, finishing with 21 points and seven boards. She added a pair of steals and blocks.

Senior guard Chloe Lamb added 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting with four triples. Her stat line included six rebounds, five assists and three steals. Freshman Maddie Krull reached double-figures for the third-straight game with 10 points, four boards and three assists.

Coming off the bench, freshman Morgan Hansen and sophomore Alexi Hempe notched their second career double-figure games. Hansen tallied 11 points and Hempe added 10.

Saturday marks the first time five Coyotes have reached double-figures in a game this season.

Oral Roberts (6-13, 4-7 Summit) was led by freshman Tierney Coleman’s 15 points. Junior guard Ariel Walker added 14 points, knocking down four 3-pointers. The Coyote defense held preseason all-Summit pick Keni Jo Lippe to a single field goal in the first half. Lippe finished the game with 10 points.

The Coyotes started the game on a 9-0 run, jumping out to a 23-8 lead in the first quarter. South Dakota led by 26 points at the half and by as many as 30 midway through the fourth quarter.

South Dakota shot 47.3 percent (26-of-55) from the field and 45 percent (9-of-20) behind the arc. It marked the Coyotes’ best 3-point shooting percentage in Summit play. Oral Roberts finished 29.2 percent (19-of-65) from the field.

The Coyotes also edged Oral Roberts on the boards 44-31 led by sophomore Jeniah Ugofsky pulling down a game-high nine rebounds.

South Dakota and Oral Roberts face off for round two at noon Sunday. The Coyotes will sport pink jerseys for the program’s annual Pink Game to raise awareness for breast cancer.

MEN’S RECAP

South Dakota sophomore point guard A.J. Plitzuweit tied his career-high of 37 points including two free throws with 2.8 seconds left to lead the Coyotes to an 86-84 win against Oral Roberts Saturday inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.

The win stops a three-game skid for USD (12-9, 10-3 Summit), which had opened Summit League play with a 9-0 record. It moves the Coyotes two games ahead of Oral Roberts (11-10, 8-5) in the standings with three games to play. The two teams meet again Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Oral Roberts’ sophomore point guard Max Abmas entered as the nation’s second-leading scorer and did not disappoint. Abmas had 36 points on 13-of-18 shooting including a 7-of-9 effort from behind the arc. His look at a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer bounced just off the rim and out.

“We talked about finding a way to win and we did that today,” head coach Todd Lee said. “We might have seen two of the best guards in the country with Max Abmas and A.J. Plitzuweit going for 37 and 36 points. It was fun to win a game like that against a very good Oral Roberts team and it was great to be back in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center in front of our fans and our Coyote Crazies.”

Plitzuweit, though, made 8-of-11 from 3-point range and was 13-of-23 from the field. He scored 13 of the Coyotes’ 15 points in the last 4:06.

It was a game that featured the top four scorers in Summit League play. Plitzuweit and Abmas were part of that quartet. South Dakota’s Stanley Umude and Oral Roberts’ Kevin Obanor were the others. Umude sat the final nine minutes of the first half with two fouls and never got going. His last field goal came with 15 minutes to go and his line was 11 points, five boards and five assists. Obanor had 14 points on 5-of-13 shooting and led the Eagles with eight boards.

South Dakota’s Xavier Fuller was the “X” factor. He scored 13 of his career-high 22 points in the first half and helped stake the Coyotes to a 40-34 lead at the break. He was 8-of-13 from the field, 3-of-4 from the 3, and had seven rebounds to go with three steals.

Plitzuweit hit back-to-back 3′s to give South Dakota its largest lead of the game at 55-42 with 13:50 left. Less than four minutes later, an Abmas three cut ORU’s deficit to 57-56.

Oral Roberts’ Carlos Jurgens tied the game at 71-71 with a pair of free throws with 4:20 to go and hit a 3 moments earlier. Jurgens scored 10 of his 14 points in the final five minutes as the teams went back and forth.

Plitzuweit hit a 3 and scored a driving layup that gave USD a 79-75 advantage with 2:57 showing. Abmas countered with a layup and then a deep pull-up 3 that gave Oral Roberts its first lead of the half at 80-79 with 2:18 on the clock.

Tasos Kamateros and D’Mauria Jones exchanged buckets before Plitzuweit hit his eighth 3-pointer that put USD ahead 84-82 with 1:28 to go.

Jurgens answered on the other end to tie the game at 84-84, and Plitzuweit had a layup roll off the rim on the other end. That gave ORU what turned out to be two tries for the lead.

Abmas missed a jumper near the right elbow, but the Eagles rebounded, and Jurgens had a good look for 3, but couldn’t connect. Plitzuweit drove the length of the court, reached the paint, and was fouled by Jones who was trying to defend the play. The winning free throws followed.

USD was 12-of-20 from beyond the arc while ORU was 13-of-31. Both teams shot close to 51 percent from the field. South Dakota was 8-for-8 from the line, while the Eagles were 9-of-10.

Plitzuweit has scored at least 34 points in three of his last six games. He’s averaged 29 points in that stretch. Abmas has averaged 29.5 over his last six games. He’s made at least five 3-pointers in his last five.

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