SIOUX FALLS, S.D.—South Dakota got 20 points from Matt Mooney and 11 from Triston Simpson in a blowout 76-58 win against Denver Monday to reach the Summit League Tournament championship game for the first time. The second-seeded Coyotes will take on top-seeded South Dakota State at 8 p.m. Tuesday for the right to go to the NCAA Tournament.
Like the rest of the semifinal games at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center Monday, this one was never in doubt. South Dakota led 26-9 near the midway point of the first half and 47-25 at the break in rolling to its eighth win in its last nine games. The Coyotes (26-7) picked up their 26th victory of the season, one shy of the program record set in 2005. They will be seeking their first ticket to the Division I tournament.
Daniel Amigo had 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead third-seeded Denver (15-15), which appeared out of gas following last night’s double-overtime win against Oral Roberts. The Pioneers, one of the most accurate 3-point shooting teams in the country, went 3-for-20 from downtown and shot less than 33 percent for the game. South Dakota’s top-ranked defense held them to their lowest scoring output of the season in ending their five-game win streak.
Mooney reached 20 points for the fourth straight game and for the 13th time this season. He made his first five shots, including a zone-busting triple with 5:34 left in the first half that put USD ahead 35-13. Mooney finished 8-of-10 from the field and has scored 20 points in each of the first two games of the tournament.
South Dakota shot 52 percent from the floor including an 8-for-18 performance from 3-point range. Six different Coyotes made a 3. Tyler Hagedorn made two of them and also reached double figures for USD with 10 points.
Joe Rosga, Denver’s all-conference guard who banked in a 3 near the buzzer to force overtime last night, had just five points Monday on 2 of 13 shooting. He was 1 of 7 from downtown. Credit the defense of Mooney and Simpson for those numbers. Denver was shooting 3’s at a 41 percent clip, which led the Summit and ranked seventh nationally.
Denver had 19 offensive rebounds but even that couldn’t overcome USD’s hot shooting. In addition to Mooney, Simpson made 5 of 8 shots and the Coyote bench, paced by Nick Fuller (8 points) and Brandon Armstrong (7) combined to make 8 of 16.
Like the women’s tournament, the men’s final will include both South Dakota teams and the top two seeds. It marks the third time since 2000 that the top seeds advanced to the final in both tournaments in the same year. The last time, 2015, included South Dakota’s women topping South Dakota State to go to the NCAA Division I tournament for the first time.