VERMILLION, S.D. - The South Dakota men’s basketball team used a 35-point advantage at the free-throw line to post an 85-75 victory over Morehead State on Wednesday night at the DakotaDome.
The Summit League Coyotes improve to 5-6 on the year, while the Ohio Valley Conference Eagles slipped to 5-7. USD also moved to 3-1 in the all-time series with its second straight win over MSU.
“I want to apologize to all Morehead State fans because tonight was an embarrassment,” Morehead State Coach Sean Woods said. “Give South Dakota credit for doing what they had to do, but we played very poorly. We fell short both mentally and physically, and the final score certainly indicated that.”
South Dakota connected on a school-record 43 free throws, while missing just seven attempts from the charity stripe. The Coyotes drilled 22-of-26 in the first half and 21-of-24 in the second stanza.
MSU, which entered the contest with 94 more fouls than its opponents this season, was whistled for 32 infractions, while USD committed just eight. The Eagles made just eight-of-11 from the foul line.
“I’ve been around this game a long time, and I can’t ever remember a team shooting 50 free throws,” Woods said. “But we were our own worst enemy tonight. We didn’t guard, we didn’t rotate and we didn’t take charges. I also didn’t see any mental toughness from our guys, which is disappointing.”
South Dakota senior Juevol Myles, a transfer from Kansas State, poured in a game and season-high 32 points on seven-of-13 from the field and 15-of-16 from the charity stripe. He played all 40 minutes.
Junior Karim Rowson added 17 points for the Coyotes on 11-of-14 from the foul line, while sophomore Brandon Bos chipped in with 12 and junior Steve Tecker contributed 11.
South Dakota drilled 44 percent overall (18-of-41) and 38 percent from three-point range (six-of-16).
Morehead State made just 38 percent from the field (28-of-74). The Eagles connected on just two-of-seven from long distance in the first half, but rimmed home nine-of-19 from beyond the arc after halftime.
Junior Maurice Lewis-Briggs tallied 24 points and 13 rebounds - both highs in a Morehead State uniform - in 27 minutes off the bench. He drilled nine-of-18 from the floor, including three-of-seven from the arc.
Junior Chad Posthumus chipped in with 13 points and seven rebounds for the Eagles, while sophomore Angelo Warner registered MSU’s first eight points en route to 11 for the night.
Senior Devon Atkinson handed out a game-best 11 assists - his career high by one - as Morehead State recorded 18 helpers on 28 field goals, with just eight turnovers.
“Championship teams are built on great character, and we’re just not there right now,” Woods said. “We need to get better quickly because time is running out before Ohio Valley Conference play.”
Morehead State wraps up its two-game road trip on Friday at another Summit League opponent, North Dakota State. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. ET. The Bison defeated the Eagles, 69-57, on Dec. 5.
“The bottom line is we are going to play the guys who give us 110 percent,” Woods added. “I don’t care who they are, what their stats are or what individual accolades they’ve earned in the past.”