SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (January 15, 2013) – Trailing by 16 points with 11:39 to play, the University of Sioux Falls outscored Southwest Minnesota State University 32-14 down the stretch to edge the visiting Mustang 67-65, and mount their largest comeback of the season Tuesday night at the Stewart Center. Bill. Freeman turned in a career-high 13 points off the bench, including three clutch baskets in the final five minutes to lead five USF players in double figures.
At one point, USF recorded four-consecutive 3-point plays, three traditional and a momentum changing Bryan Kielpinski and-one that pulled the Cougars within three points with 6:31 to play.
The final five minutes belonged to Bill Freeman. The Nebraska-Omaha transfer caught fire, going 3-of-3 and 2-of-2 during that period. Everytime he touched the ball it resulted in a highlight play. First he knocked down the game-tying 3-pointer with 4:28 on the clock. He topped that, when he brought down the house with soaring put-back dunk to again tie the game. Then he applied the dagger, the go ahead 3-pointer with 28 ticks left, giving the Cougars their first lead, 63-61, since the 9:00 mark of the first half.
USF made a couple of key stops and went 4-of-6 from the line to snap a seven-game losing streak against SMSU. The Cougars move 7-7 overall, 3-7 in conference play, while the Mustangs drop to 8-9, and 5-5 against NSIC opponents.
The first half was also a game of runs. USF jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but hot shooting from behind the arc pulled SMSU back in it, as the two teams remained within two points of each other through the first eleven minutes of game.
SMSU claimed their first lead, 19-17, near the 8:00 mark and would only build on it to close out the half. The Mustangs headed into the locker room with a 32-25 advantage at the break.
Freeman was not the only player to have a huge second half. Vinard Birch of SMSU couldn't be stopped in the last frame. He put the Mustangs on his back, and poured in 11 timely-points in the final period as well.
For the Cougars, both A.J. Holland and James Rader played big during the comeback. They each chipped in eight second half points. Holland would finish the night with 11 points and four rebounds, while Rader posted 10 points and seven boards.
Keaton Moffitt and Bryan Kielpinski did most of their damage in the opening period, where they combined to total 16 first half points. Moffitt finished with 11 points, and Kielpinski added 13 points, making it his third-straight game with 10-plus.
The Cougars, who shot it 45% from the floor tonight, charted another exceptional night from 3-point range, where they converted nine of their 20 attempts.
USF will look to build on their big win Friday when they travel to Minnesota State-Moorhead. The Cougars then visit in-state rival Northern State Saturday, Jan. 19.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (January 15, 2013)-The Sioux Falls women's basketball team's game tonight against Southwest Minnesota State was very different from its NSIC opener against SMSU on Dec. 1.
In their first matchup versus the Mustangs, the Cougars used multiple scoring runs, including a 21-3 spurt, to seize control and stymie any comeback by the Mustangs.
It was the exact opposite situation this evening as SMSU (2-13, 1-9 NSIC) went on an 18-4 second half burst to upset USF (8-6, 5-5 NSIC) at home by a 66-52 score.
The win is SMSU's first NSIC victory of the season and also snapped the Mustangs' 10-game losing streak.
Chrissy Strassburg finished 10 points and was the lone double-digit scorer for USF, which shot 32 percent and hung around early by going 4-of-7 from beyond the arc in the first half. But the Cougars had no answer after halftime for SMSU's Bree Holleman and Alison Nagel, a duo that helped the Mustangs lead all second half.
Both teams got off to a slow start, putting up only five total points in the first four-plus minutes of the game. Mikenna Greathouse hit a mid-range jumper to put USF in front 2-0 before a grueling three-minute stretch where both teams went scoreless. The Cougars missed their next six shot attempts while Southwest Minnesota State posted a 10-0 run aided by turned back-to-back USF turnovers to jump in front 10-2 at the 14:12 mark of the first half.
A three-pointer by Jaicee Ulmer ended the scoring drought and after Strassburg hit a pair from the stripe, the Cougars drained three buckets in the paint to go up 13-12 with under nine minutes to play. A Bailey Bouman three-ball would put the Cougars up five but USF didn't have much else to cheer about as SMSU battled back and used a Holleman jumper to tie the game at 25 at the end of the first half.
After intermission, Holleman knocked down a jumper to give SMSU the 27-25 advantage. Protecting a 33-31 lead with 15:25 on the clock, Holleman and Rebekah Rolling combined for a 7-0 run that pushed SMSU's lead to 10 points. On the next possession, Holleman muscled the ball up between two defenders, and in a blink of an eye SMSU scored 10 in a row to push its biggest lead to 63-43 with 4:49 left.
The Cougars got no closer than 14 the rest of the way. SMSU was able to empty its bench late in the second half and every Mustang player that dressed played at least two minutes.
USF was outrebounded 42-31 by SMSU, including 13-8 on the offensive glass. The USF bench was outscored for just the fourth time this season as they were edged 21-20 by their SMSU counterparts.
USF finished 32 percent from the floor, 23.5 percent from three-point range and went 14-for-17 from the line.
Strassburg paced the Cougars' production, finishing with a team-high 10 points along with five assists and three steals. Laura Johnson was held to seven points on 2-for-8 shooting and pulled down a team-best six rebounds. Holli Aggen chipped in seven points while Amber Paden had five.
The Cougars travel to MSU-Moorhead on Friday.