South Dakota School of Mines picked up what head men’s basketball coach Jason Henry called as big a win as his team has had in the past few years Saturday night.
The Hardrockers outscored the University of Sioux Falls 17-6 over a 7-minute-50-second span of the second half to come out of Goodell Gymnasium with a 82-74 win over a Cougars squad that Mines hadn’t beaten since 2003.
“They’re a legit Division II school that’s fully funded with big-time D-II players and they’ve drilled us literally by 20 (points) every time we’ve played them the last seven games,” Henry said. “We haven’t even come close and we hadn’t competed with their physical play, we just couldn’t handle it. Tonight, we came out ready to play.”
The Hardrockers got a nice offensive effort with five players reaching double figures in scoring, led by seniors Michael Dietz with 16 points, Caleb Shockman and Lance Kilburn with 14 apiece and Lucas Nolan chipped in with 10.
Andrew Rebol had his second straight solid game off the bench with 12 points, but it was a freshman who made just one basket all night who made two big plays to turn the momentum with 7:28 to play.
Trevor Zacher watched as Kilburn had a pass stolen by Sioux Falls guard Derek Brown. Instead of giving up on the play, Zacher tracked Brown down and swatted his layup attempt off the board to set up an easy bucket for Shockman on the other end and make it 62-56.
“I knew the guy was smaller than me and I kind of thought maybe I was more athletic,” Zacher said. “Right away it was (a) right side (layup), so it was going to be a left-hand block and I like going off my right leg. I just wanted to swat the ball and if I fouled him, I fouled him, but he wasn’t going to get an easy one. He didn’t go up into me so I knew once he didn’t do that I was going to get him.”
Zacher, who was 0-for-5 from the floor at that point, got his number called after the block and knocked down a tough 18-foot jump shot to give the Hardrockers an eight-point lead that ended up being the final margin.
“He’s a freshman but he’s capable of doing some stuff and you saw that tonight,” Henry said. “He’s a good athlete and a great shooter so we went to him there.”
The Hardrockers held Sioux Falls to 26.7 percent shooting (8-of-30) in the second half while going 14-for-24 (58.3 percent) themselves. Only one Cougar, guard Robert Goffney, reached double figures in scoring with 18 points.
“We really competed tonight,” Henry said. “We’ve had a bit of a problem in our first few games of being a little scatter-brained to start, but they came out and were ready to play from the start tonight.”
Mines (2-2 overall) heads to Chadron State on Tuesday.
Sioux Falls (1-1) will begin a five-game homestand Friday against Grand View University.
WAYNE STATE 77, S.D. MINES 42: The Wayne State (Neb.) Lady Wildcats dominated the second half Saturday to run away with a 35-point victory over the Hardrockers.
Ashton Yossi went 6-for-10 from 3-point range on her way to a game-high 22 points and Jordan Spencer had 12 of her 19 points and six of her seven rebounds in the second half as Wayne State outscored Mines 46-19 over the final 20 minutes.
“What can you say, when you shoot 62 percent in the second half you’re going to be pretty tough to beat,” Wayne State head coach Chris Kielsmeier said.
The Hardrockers trailed 31-23 heading at the half before watching Spencer impose her will.
“We talked at halftime and said that they were going to come out throwing some haymakers and they did,” Mines head coach Ryan Larsen said. “They’re really good. That’s the best team we’ve played thus far, really, really talented and well coached. We took some steps forward in the first half, played a really good 20 minutes … we just need to stop turning the ball over.”
Megan Rohrer paced Mines (0-4 overall) with 12 points. The Hardrockers will travel to Chadron State on Tuesday.
Hot Springs High School graduate Kara Powell knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to chip in with six points for Wayne State (3-0), which will take on York College on Wednesday.