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Wolves' hot shooting and mental mistakes doom Cougars in 96-79 loss to Northern State

USF Cougars
USF Cougars

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KWSN)- Less than 24 hours removed from trouncing MSU-Moorhead 92-70 with a combination of solid defense and season-low six turnovers, the Sioux Falls men’s basketball team (6-6, 3-5 NSIC) backpedaled in both areas and the 96-79 loss to Northern State (11-3, 6-2) that lit up the Stewart Center scoreboard at game’s end was a disappointing end to the weekend for the majority of the 1,244 fans in attendance.


Senior guard Derek Brown finished with 17 points on 5-for-10 shooting (6-for-6 FT) to tie for game-high honors with NSU sharpshooter Skye Warwick.


The Cougars only led once, when junior guard Charles Ward knocked down his first of two 3-pointers with 19:28 remaining in the first half. The visiting Wolves made five of their seven attempts to double up USF 14-7 before Robert Goffney hit a three-ball from the corner pocket to cut the Cougar deficit to four at the 15:30 mark. But that was as close as the Cougars would get in the contest, as the Wolves picked up where they left off on their next possession, en route to shooting a lights-out 63 percent from the field in the first half. 


On the heels of several threes from multiple players, the Wolves quickly opened up a 30-19 lead at the midway point of the first half. Skye Warwick, the NSIC leader in 3-point field goals made, would go 5-for-6 from range on the night and paced the Wolves with 17 points.


A Northern State squad that managed just 43 points in last night’s blow-out loss at Southwest Minnesota State led the Cougars 46-35 at the half.


The Cougars shot the ball well (12-for-24) in the first half but committed 10 turnovers that NSU converted into a dozen points.


Out of the break, the Cougars scored three straight buckets to pull within five at 46-41 and force NSU head coach Paul Sather to call a timeout. His Wolves squad responded with a 12-5 tear to extend their scoreboard advantage to 58-46 with nearly 16 minutes left in the game.


NSU would maintain a double-digit lead the rest of the way and led by 20 at 96-76 before Ward hit a triple in the closing seconds to create the final margin.


Ward finished with 13 points, while junior center Bryan Kielpinski added 11 to round out the double-digit scorers for USF. The Cougars were out-blocked 8-2 with Kielpinski accounting for both stuffs.


The Cougars’ shooting cooled off in the second half (35 percent) and they went 25-for-61 in the game (41 percent). NSU shot a blistering 62.5 percent from the field, 71.4 from long range and made 26 for 37 free throw attempts.


USF showed aggressive prowess on the boards, outrebounding the Wolves 37-28, which included a 19-6 edge on the offensive glass, but the Cougars converted 12 NSU turnovers into just 12 points. The Wolves gained 23 points on 17 USF miscues.


The loss extends USF’s lengthy losing streak to one of its intrastate rivals. The Cougars have not defeated NSU since the 2002-03 season, when they upset the Wolves 71-70 in Aberdeen (11/23/02).


USF travels to Minnesota-Duluth and St. Cloud State next weekend. 

Courtesy: University of Sioux Falls