Flacks Return Boosts USD Over Denver

Senior Scores 19 In 88-83 Win

VERMILLION, S.D.—South Dakota got a game-high 27 points from Matt Mooney and 19 from Tyler Flack in beating Denver 88-83 Saturday inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center. The win gives the Coyotes (15-9, 6-3 Summit) sole possession of second place in the Summit League standings. It also gives South Dakota its first regular season sweep of Denver in four years as conference foes.


Joe Rosga’s 20 points led five Pioneers who scored in double figures. The top shooting and best rebounding team in the Summit, Denver shot 51 percent from the field and had a 40-26 edge on the boards, but 18 turnovers led to 21 points for the Coyotes.


Mooney and Flack combined to make 17 of 29 shots for the Coyotes. It was the third-highest tally of the season for Mooney, who is averaging 21 a game in Summit play. Flack, back after missing seven games with a leg injury, showed no signs of rust offensively. He scored eight points in the first half in nine minutes of action and added 11 points in the second. His alley-oop dunk off a set play gave USD a 73-70 lead with 6:44 to play.


“It was good to have Flack back,” said USD head coach Craig Smith. “The guys did a good job of getting him in a flow and helping him out.”


Much like the first game in Denver back on Jan. 4, this game was close throughout. The two teams combined for 16 ties and 16 lead changes. The difference was a 12-4 South Dakota run to close the game that spanned the final four-plus minutes. That came after Denver took its largest lead of the game at 79-76.


“Neither team could stop the other team for a long time,” said Smith. “Credit our guys. They made so many plays down the stretch. And the key was, once we took off the press the last 11 possessions, they only scored four points. Defense has been our calling card all year and that’s what got it done late.”


Mooney started the run with a layup, but perhaps the play of the game came when Tyler Hagedorn stole the ball defensively, started a 3-on-1 break, and pitched to Triston Simpson who scored, was fouled, and completed the three-point play to put the Yotes back in front 81-79 with 3:29 to go.


Neither team scored again until Mooney drove for two with a minute left to push the lead to 83-79. Rosga missed on the other end and Carlton Hurst rebounded defensively and was fouled. Hurst made both foul shots and later made two more with 28 seconds left that put USD ahead 87-81.


“I’m sure glad we were at home, because I thought our fans really willed us again down the stretch,” said Smith.


Neither team shot great from beyond the arc, but fouls and free-throw shooting were certainly a factor. The Coyotes made 27 of 37 while the Pioneers made 23 of 29 from the line.


In addition to Rosga, Denver got 13 points from Daniel Amigo, 12 each from C.J. Bobbitt and Christian Mackey, and 11 from Thomas Neff. The Pioneers lost for just the second time in their last six games.


The Coyotes also placed five in double figures. Hurst, thanks to an 8-for-8 performance at the line, had 11 points. Trey Burch-Manning had 10 points as did Tyler Peterson, who added two assists and two steals in 16 minutes off the bench.


South Dakota improved to 11-1 at home, but enters its most grueling road trip of the Summit season starting Wednesday at Omaha. The Coyotes will play five of seven on the road in February to finish the regular season.


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