Coyotes beat Golden Eagles 92-87 to close out regular season

TULSA, Okla.—South Dakota shot 57 percent from the field in the second half and earned a game-high 23 points from Tasos Kamateros to edge Oral Roberts 92-87 Saturday inside the Mabee Center in the regular season finale for both teams.

The Coyotes (18-11, 11-7 Summit) earned their fifth win in six games and finished 6-3 on the road in conference. They will be the No. 5 seed in the upcoming Summit League tournament. South Dakota will face Kansas City, the No. 4 seed, in a 6 p.m. game on March 6 inside the Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Oral Roberts (18-11, 12-6) lost consecutive home games for only the second time this season and finished tied for third in the Summit standings with Kansas City. The Golden Eagles own the tiebreaker and will be the tournament’s third seed.

Oral Roberts has the fourth-scoring offense in the country, but it was the Coyotes’ offense that made the difference. South Dakota made eight 3-pointers on 18 attempts while Oral Roberts needed 35 3-pointers to make 11. All eight American players with double-digit minutes contributed at least seven points and the Coyotes recorded their second-highest point total against a division. I’m scared of this season.

“Offensively in the second half we attacked some of the matchups they had and it was a great win on the road and a great way to end the regular season,” said the USD head coach. Todd Lee. “It was a senior night for them, a big crowd, and beating a team ahead of us in the standings, especially on the road, is great for our guys.”

Like Thursday night against Kansas City, South Dakota started slow and trailed early. Oral Roberts led 23-9 after eight minutes and appeared to be on the right track. But the Coyotes tied within a point at 42-41 at the break and continued their second-half push. A 3 points by Mason Archambault put South Dakota ahead 63-50 with less than 15 minutes to go.

It was a 27-point swing in 17 minutes in the middle of the game, but that was the difference. South Dakota shot 22 of 34 in that span, including four 3-pointers, while Oral Roberts shot 9 of 25.

The USD still had a double-digit lead at 84-73 with less than four minutes to play. Oral Roberts’ final push got him in the three at 86-83 off a Kareem Thompson jumper with a minute left. But the answer was a drive from Kamateros and a finish on the right side of the paint on the ensuing possession, which made it a two-possession game.

The Golden Eagles had a tied look in the final seconds, but Issac McBride missed a 3, Kruz Perrott Hunt rebounded and USD iced him with four free throws.

Oral Roberts goalkeeper Max Abmas, one of the nation’s top scorers who averaged almost 25 points per game in the league, scored 14 on 5-for-12 shooting on Saturday. It was his fourth most season’s low point total. Credit a defense led by boogie anderson who made life difficult for the all-American.

“Abmas, our guys did a great job on him, and we dug a hole, but we fought back and ended up losing a point at halftime,” Lee said. “Erik Oliver really woke us up, I thought. He came off the bench, hit a three and he’s got the midrange and was very effective tonight.”

Oliver was USD’s second top scorer with 13 points off the bench on 6-of-8 shooting. It was his third-best tally of the season. USD also got 12 points each from Archambault and Hunt and nine points from Hunter Goodrick. Xavier Fuller and Damani Hayes also came off the bench and provided eight points apiece.

Helen L. Cuellar