The University of Sioux Falls demonstrated strong interior defense and backcourt pressure to hold their second consecutive opponent to less than 50 points Saturday night in a convincing 69-49 victory over South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.
Sophomore guard Keaton Moffitt led the way for the Cougars, posting a game-high 13 points. His total was also a career-best.
USF improves to 2-0, while SDSM&T drops to 1-2.
The Cougars jumped the Hardrockers early, opening the contest on an 18-4. The visiting team tried to get their offense going and pulled within five, but USF turned up its defense to hold off any SDSM&T push and maintain a 42-26 advantage at the half.
Much of USF's first half success was attributed to their ability to score off Hardrocker mistakes and their complete domination on the glass. USF recorded 13 points off Hardrocker turnovers and tallied nine second chance points on nine first half offensive rebounds.
It would be much of the same in the second half, where the Cougars continued to win the battle of possession.
USF's stingy defense could be best summarized by their play in SDSM&T's first three possessions of the second period, which resulted in three straight turnovers.
A pair of David Maxwell's free throws near the 12:00 mark capped a 14-0 Cougar scoring run and gave USF their largest lead of the game, as they went ahead 56-28.
The two teams went back and forth over the remaining eight minutes of the game, but 20 points is as close as SDSM&T would get as they were handed a 69-49 loss at the Stewart Center.
The Cougars held the visiting team to just 13% shooting from the perimeter and outhustled them on the glass, 44-35.
Led by five blocks by Bryan Kielpinski, USF tallied six blocked shots, while forcing 22 Hardrocker turnovers. USF also produced 21 points on 17 offensive rebounds.
AJ Trennepohl was SDSM&T's lone player in double-digit scoring. He finished with 10 points and five rebounds. USF had three players finish with 10-plus point tonight. Moffitt went 5-of-9 from the field to total 13 points, while James Rader scored 12 points, going 5-of-12 on the night. He recorded seven rebounds. Derek Brown chipped in 10 points.
The Cougars' defense performance was steered by the play of AJ Holland and Kielpinski. Holland tallied four steals, while Kielpinski finished with career-highs in both blocks and rebounds, posting five and eight respectively.
Up next, USF hosts Waldorf Tuesday November 20 at 8p.m.
Courtesy: USF Athletics