South Dakota (8-18) at Montana State (10-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, February 24, 3 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Worthington Arena (7,250) -- Bozeman, Montana. Television: None. Home Record: USD 5-7, MSU 8-4. Away Record: USD 2-10, MSU 2-10. Neutral Record: USD 1-1, MSU 0-0. Conference Record: USD 4-10, MSU 7-9. Series Record: Montana State leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The South Dakota Coyotes try to snap a six-game slide on Sunday afternoon when they challenge the Montana State Bobcats as part of the annual BracketBusters series at Worthington Arena in Bozeman.
This is the first of three straight road dates for the Coyotes to close out the 2012-13 regular season, with stops at IUPUI and Western Illinois to follow. Last weekend the team was at home against IPFW and bowed to the visitors in a 64-51 final, dropping USD to just 4-10 in Summit League play.
As for the Bobcats, representing the Big Sky Conference, they too have been watching from the sidelines since last Saturday when they were tripped up by Weber State in a 69-61 final. The loss was the fourth in a row and the fifth in six tries for a group that is two games under .500 (7-9) in conference action.
The Bobcats won the first and only meeting between the programs during the 1946-47 campaign with a 63-59 decision.
South Dakota fell behind immediately against IPFW last weekend, trailing by as many as 21 points in the second half before cutting the deficit to 13 points at the conclusion of the matchup. Trevor Gruis led three players in double figures for the Coyotes with 12 points, followed by Casey Kasperbauer and Juevol Myles with 11 and 10 points, respectively, for a squad that shot only 38.0 percent from the field and 5-of-17 behind the 3-point line.
Myles is responsible for a team-best 15.2 ppg and is also the one who keeps the offense in gear with his 71 assists, as the Coyotes generate a modest 70.3 ppg. Gruis checks in with 11.4 ppg and 5.7 rpg. Brandon Bos (10.8 ppg) and Kasperbauer (8.6 ppg) give the squad a presence on the outside with a collective 92 3-pointers on the season.
Against one of the top teams in the Big Sky last weekend, the Bobcats didn't completely fold, yet still suffered an eight-point road loss versus Weber State. The defense for MSU allowed the Wildcats to connect on a staggering 64.1 percent from the floor for the entire game, yet forced 15 turnovers at the same time. Marcus Colbert dropped in 19 points on 5-of-7 shooting beyond the arc for Montana State, followed by Christian Moon and Paul Egwuonwu with 15 and 12 points, respectively.
During this four-game losing streak for the Bobcats, the team has had a different leading scorer each time out and that may be part of the problem. As it stands after 24 games, the leading scorer for the program is Moon with his 13.3 ppg, although he has only appeared in 16 contests. Xavier Blount (10.6 ppg) and Flavien Davis (10.5 ppg) have also had their moments for the group, but still MSU is being outscored by the competition on the regular basis.
Nothing like waiting more than six decades to exact some revenge, but that's the storyline for the Coyotes as they take the floor on Sunday.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Dakota 66, Montana State 62
02/24 10:30:44 ET