NJIT Suffers Loss at South Dakota
Feb. 24, 2011
NJIT's road to the GWC championship got a little tougher as the Highlanders fell at defending GWC champion South Dakota, 99-84, on Thursday night.
South Dakota opened the second half on a 20-5 run on its way to the win at the DakotaDome in Vermillion, S.D. The Coyotes (14-13, 5-4 GWC) avenged an earlier loss to NJIT (13-13, 7-2 GWC) with the win.
Three Coyotes scored in double figures, as Louie Krogman, Trevor Gruis and Charlie Westbrook each contributed 19 points in the win. Westbrook also had nine rebounds. Jake Thomas had a strong all-around game with nine points, eight assists and a career-high nine rebounds. The eight assists for Thomas tied a career-high.
USD played strong offensively, shooting 48 percent (30-of-62) from the field and 84 percent (33-of-39) from the free throw line. NJIT shot 45 percent (33-of-72) and 53 percent (15-of-28). The Coyotes outrebounded the Highlanders 48-34.
The game was tied at 40-40 at halftime after a hard-fought first half. The Coyotes came out of halftime strong, as unanswered baskets by Krogman, Westbrook and Gruis put them up by six and they never looked back. USD kept the momentum rolling as the Coyotes pushed the lead to 60-45 with 14:35 to play, which was part of a 20-5 run.
Westbrook ignited the crowd after a steal led to a dunk and put the Coyotes up 77-59 with just under eight minutes remaining in the game. The Coyotes sealed the victory with free throws, going 15-of-18 in the final five minutes.
The Coyotes started the game on an 8-0 spurt and the Highlanders fought back to a 24-24 tie with 7:48 remaining before halftime. USD then went back up by eight with just over three minutes left in the half before NJIT came back again, tying the score at the half.
Four Highlanders scored in double figures led by Isaiah Wilkerson and Lamar Kearse with 18 points apiece. Sean McCarthy contributed 15 points and nine rebounds, while PJ Miller added 13 points and six assists.
NJIT travels to North Dakota on Saturday in a must-win game to keep its hopes of an outright GWC title alive.