VERMILLION, S.D. – A season-high 21 assists led to a season-best shooting percentage as the South Dakota men’s basketball team cruised past Bellevue 78-52 Wednesday night. The Coyotes shot 32-of-54 from the field for 59.3 percent.
Junior Cody Kelley, making his first start since Nov. 18, tallied a game-high 18 points as the Coyotes move to 5-5 on the season. Juniors Tyler Peterson and Triston Simpson totaled 17 and 11 points, respectively. Senior Trey Burch-Manning tallied nine points and seven rebounds while collecting a season-best five steals.
“I thought we did a good job sharing the basketball,” head coach Todd Lee said. “Cody played well tonight. He has been hurt with a nagging injury. He really is not 100 percent but it was good to see him knock down some shots. Between him and Triston, they had just a couple of turnovers and eight assists, and that was good to see."
Defensively, USD held the Bruins to 36.8 percent shooting (21-of-57). Bellevue did not shoot a free throw in the game, the first time in the Division I era that a South Dakota opponent did not attempt a single shot from the charity stripe.
South Dakota used a 14-4 run midway through the first half to turn a three-point advantage into a 13-point lead. Burch-Manning found Stanley Umude for the easy jumper in the paint to start the run while Peterson ended the run when Simpson found him streaking under the basket for a layup.
The lead never went into single digits the remainder of the game and ballooned to as many as 29 points before settling on the final score of 78-52.
Senior Dan Jech saw his first action of the season, playing 15 minutes, grabbing five rebounds and knocking in his only shot attempt. Simpson tallied a game-high six assists while Umude had a career-best five assists to go along with his eight points and five rebounds.
Bellevue, playing the game as an exhibition, saw all 11 players play at least 10 minutes. Josh Lindsey-Hunter totaled a team-best 11 points.
South Dakota travels to Colorado State on Sunday. Opening tip is slated for 3 p.m. (CST) in Fort Collins, Colorado.