Coyote Men Defeat NDSU But Lose AJ Plitzuweit To Injury
USD moves to within win of Summit regular season title but star guard Plitzuweit suffers serious leg injury
VERMILLION, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The South Dakota Coyotes stayed perfect at home in conference play this season with a 80-71 victory over North Dakota State Saturday afternoon inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.
With the win, the Coyotes (13-9, 11-3 Summit) move that much closer to their second regular season title since joining the Summit League. USD and NDSU match up again Sunday at 3:30 p.m. with a title on the line.
If USD sweeps NDSU Sunday, they will lock up the regular season title and the one seed in the tournament. However, if USD splits with NDSU and SDSU sweeps Kansas City later tonight, the Jacks will earn the one seed and the Yotes the two seed. If both USD and SDSU were to split the weekends series, the Yotes would earn the one seed.
All five Coyote starters finished in double figures led by senior Stanley Umude who recorded 26 points on 9-of-17 shooting and grabbed four rebounds on the afternoon. Redshirt-sophomore A.J. Plitzuweit recorded 20 points before leaving with an injury late in the second half. Sophomores Tasos Kamateros and Kruz Perrott-Hunt recorded 14 and 10 points respectively while junior Xavier Fuller recorded 10 points as well.
“Prayers are with AJ and his family,” head coach Todd Lee said. “I want our guys to know that we’re going to go to war tomorrow for AJ and for us. I am very proud of the guys and the way they fought afterwards.”
The Bison (12-11, 10-5 Summit) were led by Rocky Kreuser with 17 points while Maleeck Harden-Hayes (14), Jarius Cook (12) and Grant Nelson (10) rounded out the double-figure scoring for NDSU.
The game was relatively close throughout the first five minutes before NDSU grabbed the first momentum swing of the game with a 7-0 run to take a 17-10 lead into the under 12 media timeout. However, Umude took back the lead scoring the Yotes next nine points to give them a 19-17 lead with 9:11 left before intermission.
A layup from Kamateros and a jumper in the paint from Umude gave South Dakota its largest lead of the game thus far at 35-23 with 1:17 left in the first half and the Yotes took a 35-27 lead into the break.
Early in the second half, South Dakota increased its lead to 17 points at 50-33 after a 3-pointer from Plitzuweit. The Bison, however, weren’t going away easy as they cut the lead to seven points after a Cook long ball with 8:39 left.
With 2:39 left in the game, Plitzuweit went down with the Yotes up six. South Dakota made sure to finish the game for their star point guard pushing the lead to 13 after a pair from Fuller from the charity stripe with 1:24.
South Dakota finished the game going 10-of-14 from the line to put them one victory away from a regular season conference title.
The Yotes shot 47.2 percent from the field on 25-of-53 shooting. The Bison connected on 10-of-30 3-pointers for 33.3 percent and 227-66 from the field overall for 40.9 percent.
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