Dec 11th, 2006 @ 1:25 pm | Author: Courtesy of Shane Drahota, USD Sports Information
VERMILLION, S.D. --- The University of South Dakota men's basketball team scored on the first possession of the game and never trailed the rest of the way in knocking off Valley City State 73-54 in a non-conference contest with 3,208 fans in attendance in the DakotaDome. The victory was the Coyotes second straight, which was the first time this year they has strung together consecutive wins, and improved their record to 6-4 overall. The Vikings fell to 4-7 with the loss.

Five USD players reached double-digits in scoring, led by unior forward Eric Hall's (Huron, S.D.) 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-6 from three-point range. Hall also had five rebounds and three assists. Sophomore swingman Dylan Grimsley (Sioux City, Iowa) added 14 points, 12 of which came in the second half. Grimsley also contributed six rebounds and tied a season-high with four steals.

Sophomore guard Jesse Becker (Plymouth, Minn.) had 13 points, including making 6-of-7 from the free throw line, and tied a season-high with four rebounds. Freshman forward Tyler Cain (Rochester, Minn.) turned in a solid all-around performance with 11 points and nine rebounds, which tied a season-high. Cain also equaled season-best performances with five steals and three blocked shots. Junior guard Dustin Little (Castlewood, S.D.) came off the bench to score 10 points and grab four rebounds.

Forward Jonathan Lindahl led the Vikings with 18 points and seven rebounds. Guard Mike Stowman was the only other VCSU player to reach double-digits in scoring with 12 points.

USD allowed a season-low 54 points, with the previous low of 60 points coming last time out against Morningside. The Coyotes also held a 37-30 advantage in rebounding, and were buoyed by a 21-of-30 effort at the free throw line. South Dakota also shot 51.1% from the field while holding the Vikings to just 35.1% from the floor.

Just 12 seconds into the game, Cain put the USD ahead for good on a lay-up. That began a 8-2 run over the first 5:23 of the contest. The Coyotes got the lead to as high as 12 in the first half before the Vikings cut it to eight at the half, 32-24.

Valley City State came out of the locker room strong to start the second half with an 8-3 run to make it a one-possession game at 35-32 with 18:38 left on the clock. However, the Coyotes withstood that challenge by scoring seven consecutive points to get the lead back up to double-digits at 43-32 at the 14:12 mark. From there, USD was able to continue to add onto its lead, which got as high as 21 points, before settling in for the 19-point triumph.