VERMILLION, S.D. (KWSN)—South Dakota senior center Trevor Gruis notched his 13th collegiate double-double, scoring 19 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, in leading the Coyotes to a 59-54 win against Denver Saturday inside the DakotaDome in the Summit League opener for both teams.
The Coyotes (6-9, 1-0) won their third game in a row by holding their opponent to 23 second-half points on 26 percent shooting. USD outrebounded Denver 29-21 and allowed four second-chance points.
South Dakota junior guard Brandon Bos scored nine of his 15 points in the second half and made two free throws with 12 seconds left for the final points of the game. Sophomore forward Tyler Flack made all four shots he took for eight points.
Denver (7-9, 0-1) got a game-high 22 points from junior guard Brett Olson, who made four three-pointers and 7 of 12 shots overall. His teammates combined to make 11 of 35 shots, including a 3 of 18 performance from three-point range. Brett is the son of Dan Olson, who played for the Coyotes from 1982-85.
Gruis had 16 points in the first half as the Coyotes effectively exploited matchups in the low post. Eric Robertson, who contributed 26 minutes off the USD bench, assisted on four Gruis buckets. Robertson also had five rebounds and his reverse dunk midway through the second half stopped a 6-0 Denver rally.
South Dakota made 12 of 19 shots in the first half and led 34-31 at the break. The Coyotes’ led by as many as 11 points in the second half and 56-46 with six minutes to go.
Denver used full-court pressure to force six USD turnovers down the stretch and the Pioneers had three possessions in the final minute to try to cut into a 57-54 deficit. Marcus Byrd missed a 3 with 55 seconds left. Cam Griffin got the rebound and was fouled, but missed both free throws. Jalen Love missed a trey with 23 seconds remaining.
Pioneer senior forward Chris Udofia was a preseason all-Summit League pick, but had 10 points on 3 of 9 shooting while playing all 40 minutes Saturday. He led Denver with six rebounds and had three assists, blocks and steals.
South Dakota has won its first three games of a season-long five-game home stand. The Coyotes improved to 5-1 at home this season. The team resumes play at 7 p.m. Thursday against IUPUI.
Courtesy: University of South Dakota