South Dakota (10-18) at Western Illinois (20-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 2, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Western Hall (5,139) -- Macomb, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: USD 5-7, WIU 11-2. Away Record: USD 4-9, WIU 7-5. Neutral Record: USD 1-2, WIU 2-0. Conference Record: USD 5-10, WIU 12-3. Series Record: Western Illinois leads, 3-2.
GAME NOTES: The South Dakota Coyotes look to close out their regular season slate with some momentum as they visit Western Hall to tangle with the Western Illinois Leathernecks in Summit League action.
These schools began their conference season against one another on Nov. 29 in a contest the Leathernecks won, 73-71, after Ceola Clark drained a game-winner from the lane at the buzzer. South Dakota overcame a 12-point halftime deficit with seven seconds left as Juevol Myles connected on a game-tying 3-pointer, but the Coyotes never led at any point. The victory improved WIU to 3-2 all time versus South Dakota.
South Dakota ended its six-game losing slide on Sunday as it took a brief break from Summit League play to down Montana State, 85-74, on the road in the final edition of the BracketBusters event. The Coyotes followed up their non- conference victory with an 87-69 rout of IUPUI that gave them their 10th win of the season and improved them to 4-10 in true away tests. Myles, who transferred from Kansas State after the 2010-11 campaign, paces the team with 15.4 points and 3.0 assists per tilt.
Four of the Coyotes' starting five scored in double figures in the win over the IUPUI on Thursday. Trevor Gruis went 10-of-15 from the floor to tally 26 points which he accompanied with six rebounds and five assists. Myles contributed 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists while Casey Kasperbauer and Jordan Boots scored 13 and 11 points, respectively. South Dakota connected on an even 50 percent of its field goals, including seven from beyond the arc and went 20-fo-25 at the free-throw line. The team has shot 49 percent or better from the field in three of its last four games and converted 83.7 percent of its free-throw attempts over its past two outings. On the season, the Coyotes have the fourth most productive scoring offense in the conference at 71.5 ppg, but they are very poor defensively with an allowed average of 74.8 ppg.
The Leathernecks are coming off of a hard-fought, 53-50 victory over UMKC which snapped a two-game losing skid and gave them their 20th win of the season. WIU can clinch a share of the Summit League regular season title with a victory in this one, but it will be the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament regardless of the result. Terell Parks, who paces the squad with a near double-double average of 12.7 points and 9.6 rebounds per tilt, did not play against the Kangaroos and is listed as questionable for Saturday due to a foot injury.
Without Parks available versus UMKC, Michael Ochereobia stepped up to score a team-high 14 points on 5-of-5 shooting from the field in just 18 minutes of action. Clark played the entire contest and finished with 13 points, six assists and four steals as WIU went 19-of-40 (47.5 percent) including 6-of-15 from 3-point range. The Leathernecks trailed by 18 points at halftime without their leader but held the 'Roos to 20 percent efficiency from the field in the final 20 minutes to rally all the way back. WIU held a 24-12 advantage in points in the paint. UMKC committed 17 turnovers that led to 24 WIU points.
WIU barely survived against a lesser UMKC squad without Parks in uniform, which could mean trouble as this slightly better USD unit rolls into Macomb. A win in this one could give the Coyotes a great deal of confidence just in time for the conference tourney.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Dakota 70, Western Illinois 64
03/02 10:46:02 ET