The Denver Pioneers (1-7, 0-1) faced the South Dakota Coyotes (3-6, 1-0) in Vermillion, South Dakota at the Sanford (who else) Coyote Sports Center for a late matinee game Saturday. USD pounded the Pioneers mercilessly, 93-54. This was, surely, the most embarrassing hoops loss since the historic 101-40 pasting administered by Gonzaga in 2018.
The Coyotes raced out to a 9-2 lead. The seven-point gap held even, 25-17, ten minutes into the first half. USD put the hammer down the next five minutes to extend the lead to 36-19. Ice cold Denver continued to fade as the Coyote lead extended to 22 points following a seven-minute Denver scoring drought, making the score to 41-19 with 2:15 remaining. The humiliating performance ended with the score 49-24 at the half. USD shot a blistering 57.7% for the first 20 minutes while the Pioneers searched for iron.
The first minute of the second half started as cold as the first as the Coyotes took advantage of Denver errors, racing out to a 57-24 bulge before a desperation Rodney Billups timeout. Denver was down 36 points with 14 minutes left in the second half – but it got worse for the Pios. USD continued to build their massive lead to 48 points, 80-32, with nine minutes to go in the game. Finally, the Coyotes called off the pack with seven minutes left.
The Pioneers allowed USD guard A.J. Plitzuweit to score 31 points and record 6 rebounds while Stanley Umude added 17 points and 8 rebounds. DU sophomore Tristan Green, the only Pio in double figures, led the Pioneers with 13 points and 6 rebounds but also contributed 6 turnovers. Denver had 20 turnovers and went 8-26 from beyond the arc while shooting 30% from the floor. Injured Robert Jones did not suit up for Denver.
The two teams face-off again tomorrow at the same time.
Photo: Courtesy of South Dakota Athletics