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Cougars Outlast Waldorf 78-67

Derek Brown, University of Sioux Falls Cougars vs Waldorf
University of Sioux Falls

SIOUX FALLS, SD — Sioux Falls overcame a sluggish start and subdued Waldorf College 78-67 in a turnover-filled matchup Saturday night at the Stewart Center.

USF wrapped up its non-conference schedule with an overall record of 3-1. Tonight’s contest counted as an exhibition for the visiting Warriors.

The Cougar underclassmen did their part to give the Cougars the weekend sweep. Freshman Mack Johnson scored a career-high 19 points and went 5-for-9 from beyond the arc. Sophomore Jordan Stotts flirted with a double-double for the second straight contest, finishing with 14 points on 6-for-11 shooting and collecting eight rebounds.

What wasn’t all right was either team’s ball control, as they combined for 39 turnovers. USF coughed up 23 of those, leading to 27 points for the Warriors.

USF struggled out of the gate, going 0-for-4 with two turnovers on their first six possessions. Down 12-11 at the 14:05 mark after Waldorf converted a hoop and harm, the Cougars went on a 13-4 run which was capped off by a Mahlon Jones fast break layup to go up 24-16 and force Waldorf into a timeout. But sloppy play by the Cougars helped the Warriors stay in the game, as seven of USF’s 13 first half turnovers were part of Waldorf’s 18-11 run to close the half and the Cougar lead was just 35-34 at halftime.

After the break, a 10-footer from Derek Brown gave USF a five-point advantage at 41-36 butWaldorf refused to go away, erasing the deficit with two layups bookending a free throw to level things at 43-all with 16:41 remaining. The teams continued to exchange points and Cougars trailed 60-58 halfway through the second half before they finally pulled away to stay.

USF outscored the Warriors 20-7 the rest of the way, led by Johnson who knocked down a pair of threes during the run. Cutler Finneman gave USF a nine-point lead with a paint bucket at the 3:36 mark and Waldorf couldn’t seem to resist the temptation to foul, giving Charles Ward the opportunity to rack up four straight points with the clock stopped from the foul line. Goffney was hacked twice with less than a minute remaining and went 3-for-4 from the stripe to seal the Cougar win.

Brown added 13 points on 5-for-9 shooting, including 3-for-6 from three. Ward had 11 points and seven rebounds.

One night after tying his career-best scoring output (23), senior Robert Goffney was held to three points but posted 10 rebounds and five assists to earn game-high honors in both categories. Six different Cougars were credited with a dime in the final box, including Mahlon Jones (3) and Preston Rayburn (2) .

Waldorf’s Trey Scott paced the Warriors’ efforts with a game-high 24 points.

For the fourth time in as many games, USF outrebounded its opponent, coming down with 43 boards tonight to the Warriors’ 27. The Cougar bench outscored the Warrior reserves, 18-0.

USF is back in action next Saturday, when they host Southwest Minnesota State in the conference opener for both schools.

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Courtesy:  University of Sioux Falls

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