MBB: Double-digit lead not enough as Bison rally late for 79-75 win over Coyotes

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (GoYotes.com) —South Dakota built a double-digit, second-half lead only to see North Dakota State rally late to earn a 79-75 Summit League Tournament semifinal win inside the Sanford Pentagon Monday night.

The Bison (15-11) got 20 points from Rocky Kreuser and 16 from Sam Griesel to advance to Tuesday’s championship game against fourth-seeded Oral Roberts. The duo combined for 29 second-half points and scored all 19 Bison points in the final 6:10.

South Dakota (14-11) got a game-high 23 points, nine rebounds and five assists from senior star Stanley Umude along with 19 points from Xavier Fuller and 14 each from Tasos Kamateros and Kruz Perrott-Hunt. But foul trouble plagued USD for much of the game and the Bison made 24-of-31 from the free-throw line to overcome the Coyotes’ shooting advantage.

Kamateros and Fuller helped South Dakota shoot 62 percent in the first half (15-of-24) and pushed the Coyotes to a 40-32 halftime lead. Kamateros was 5-of-7 from the field in the opening stanza and Fuller was 5-of-6. NDSU made 11-of-30 for 36 percent in the first half.

Back-to-back assists from Umude to first Fuller and then Mason Archambault gave USD its largest lead of the game at 44-34 less than two minutes into the second half. But Kamateros picked up two quick fouls in the half and NDSU reached the bonus for the final 13:50.

Still, South Dakota kept turning the Bison away. Perrott-Hunt hit a 3, Umude made a pair of free throws and then buried a triple to make it 66-57 with seven minutes left.

That’s when Krueser and Griesel made their move. It started with a Jarius Cook 3-pointer to end the Coyotes’ run. A pair of and-1’s from Krueser and Griesel gave NDSU its first lead since early in the ball game at 70-68 with 4:01 left.

The Bison scored on 10 consecutive possessions starting with the Cook 3 and ending with the final points of the game. NDSU had offensive rebounds on four of those trips and the last one was a dagger. Trailing 77-75, South Dakota forced Griesel into a long, step-back 3 that was off the mark. But USD was last to touch a ball that fell out of bounds, and with 22 seconds left, USD was forced to foul.

Griesel made a pair of free throws with 15 seconds to go and a turnover on the Coyotes’ ensuing possession sealed it.

It was a valiant effort for a USD squad who lost at home by 12 to NDSU eight days ago, its first game following Plitzuweit’s injury. South Dakota had won the previous meeting 80-71 the day before. Credit a starting five that logged long minutes and still shot 54 percent from the field. It took 15 offensive rebounds and the 24 free throws for the Bison to advance.