DURHAM, N.C. – Playing the No. 1 team in the nation for the first time in the Division I era, the South Dakota men’s basketball team fell 96-80 at Duke Saturday.
“In the college experience, everybody wants to win,” South Dakota head coach Craig Smith said. “But it is also about the experiences you gain and the relationships that last a lifetime.
“This is an experience that our guys will remember for a long time. This game will certainly make us a better team without question.”
After Gary Trent Jr. scored a basket for Duke on the game’s opening possession, junior Tyler Hagedorn swished a 3-point basket in front of a sold-out Cameron Indoor Stadium crowd to give South Dakota (7-3) the 3-2 lead.
Grayson Allen then scored seven-straight points for Duke (10-0), to push the Blue Devil lead to six points. The 9-3 lead was sliced down to three points when Hagedorn sank his second trey of the game with 17:07 remaining in the first half.
After Carlton Hurst hit a jump shot with 13:31 on the clock to cut the Blue Devil lead to seven points at 18-11, Duke went on a 22-4 run to push the lead to 25 points at 40-15 with 7:23 remaining in the half.
That’s all the top-ranked team needed to do, as they entered halftime with a 56-30 advantage and closed the game with the 96-80 final score.
The Coyotes outscored Duke 50-40 in the second stanza as graduate-transfer Nick Fuller had his second-straight career high with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting. South Dakota shot 18-of-36 from the field in the second half for 50-percent and hit seven of its 10 long-range shots in the half.
Joining Fuller in double-digit scoring was Hagedorn with 16 points, who also had a team-high seven rebounds. Triston Simpson added 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including a perfect 2-of-2 from long range. South Dakota tallied 18 assists in the game, with five coming from Matt Mooney and another four from Simpson.
Allen led Duke with 25 points as Marvin Bagley III tallied a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
All 15 South Dakota players dressed for the game saw action in front of the 9,134 fans. That helped the Coyote bench out-score the Duke bench 44-25.
South Dakota returns to the Sanford Coyote Sports Center on Wednesday, hosting Drake with a 7 p.m. tipoff.