Coyote men win final at home against Western Illinois

VERMILLION, SD –In a game that included 16 lead changes and nine ties, South Dakota closed out its home schedule with a big 78-65 win over Western Illinois on Saturday night inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.

The Coyotes (17-10, 10-6 Summit) earned their fourth straight win and have now won 10 or more conference games for the third straight season. The Leathernecks (15-13, 6-11 Summit) lost their sixth straight game to USD.

Tasos Kamateros led all scorers with a career-high 24 points tonight while shooting 57% from the field. Kamateros used the three-point ball to his advantage and knocked down 6 of 9 triples. Kruz Perrott-Hunt allowed 18 points while Mason Archambault added 12 points and two steals. Xavier Fuller provided 10 points off the bench for USD to complete the double-digit scoring effort.

South Dakota and Western Illinois went neck and neck in the first half and headed to the locker room tied at 35. After Western Illinois shot 50% from the field in the first half, the Coyotes held on defensively in the second half. and limited the Leathernecks to 33% shooting, including 0 for 9 from the three-point line. Damani Hayes tied a career high in minutes tonight and was assigned 6′10″ Luka Barisic for the majority of the second half. Barisic was limited to just six points in the second stanza after scoring 10 in the first.

“I can’t say enough about Damani Hayes’ game,” said USD head coach Todd Lee. “Barisic has recently played at a high level for Western Illinois and I think Damani has done a great job on him.”

Midway through the second half, neither the Coyotes nor the Leathernecks were able to pull far enough away to take control of the game. The biggest lead for both teams up to this point was four points. With the game tied at 50 apiece at 10:45, USD rode a quick 10-0 run to take the lead for good. After registering for the first time, Erik Oliver tied the game with a lay-up. Oliver followed that up with a defensive steal the next possession and Perrott-Hunt rattled in a long three-pointer to give USD the lead. On the next offensive possession, Hayes stepped back and hit Archambault’s pass to ignite the Coyotes crowd. Archambault then drew a charge on the other end before Xavier Fuller finished the run with a three in the corner. USD had built their lead up to 17 points by the end of the second half to record their 11th home win this season.

South Dakota had an effective shooting night 46 percent from the field and used the long ball effectively for a 55 percent mark from downtown. The Coyotes took advantage of the charity stripe points by finishing 15 of 18 from the line, including a perfect 12 of 12 in the second half.

The Coyotes sit fifth in the conference standings heading into the final week of the regular season. South Dakota will face two teams ahead of them in the standings next week on the road before the Summit League tournament. USD travels to Kansas City first on Thursday before a date with Oral Roberts in Tulsa on Saturday night.

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