Pilots Navigate Past Coyotes
Late Three Burns USD In 85-82 Loss
PORTLAND, OR –– Gabe Taylor hit a game-winning 3-pointer with two seconds left to give Portland an 85-82 win against South Dakota Friday night inside Mota Center, home of the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers. It was the fourth triple of the game for Taylor who finished with 22 points and a career-high 11 rebounds.
Tyler Flack had 14 points and 10 rebounds for South Dakota (8-5), which had rallied from 14 points down with nine minutes remaining to tie the game at 80-80 and again at 82-82 with 21 seconds left. Flack caught a long pass on the final play of the game and had a good look at a tying 3, only to see it roll around and out. It was the fourth double-double of the season for Flack.
Portland (6-3) got a game-high 24 points and eight assists from Alec Wintering and teammate Jazz Johnson added 21 points. The two entered the game as the fifth-highest scoring backcourt in the nation at 40 points per game. They combined to make 15 of 20 shots and 9 of 11 free throws. Johnson was 5 of 6 from downtown. The Pilots made 12 of 22 from beyond the arc.
South Dakota had six players score in double figures for the second time this season. Matt Mooney led the Coyotes with 15. Carlton Hurst matched Flack’s 14. Point guards Trey Dickerson and Triston Simpson finished with 10 each.
Coyote freshman Brandon Armstrong scored all 12 of his points during a three-minute stretch to spark South Dakota’s comeback. His second 3 pulled the Coyotes within six at 77-71 with 4:47 remaining. Armstrong made 4 of 7 shots from the field and matched his season high for points.
Portland led 36-33 at halftime behind 12 points from Wintering. The Pilots extended their lead to 50-37 less than four minutes into the second half and took its largest lead at 64-50 on a jumper by Taylor with 10:24 remaining.
Mooney completed the comeback by burying a 3 with 1:13 left that tied the game at 80-80. Wintering countered with a jumper in the lane on the other end, but Mooney worked his way to the rim for an easy layup with 21 seconds left.
Following a timeout, Wintering dribbled out front and worked off a high screen from Taylor. When both defenders eyed Wintering, he kicked to Taylor on his right who buried the open look.
Portland shot 50 percent from the field (29-58) while South Dakota finished at 39 percent (28-72). South Dakota made 20 of 27 free throws and Portland made 15 of 21.
The game marked the first of three road games in a six-day span for the Coyotes. South Dakota returns to the court Sunday for a rematch against Montana State in Bozeman, Mont. USD beat Montana State 74-57 in Vermillion back on Dec. 7.