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South Dakota Erases Big Deficit, But Still Loses at Fort Wayne

South Dakota dug itself a big first half hole, rallied for a second half lead, but for the sixth straight time, lost a Summit League game, 75-69 at Fort Wayne.

After trailing by as many as 18 in the first half, USD came charging back in the second half, keyed by Trevor Gruis and Karim Rowson, Gruis with 10 of his 14 in the second half, Rowson with 9 of his 15, as the Coyotes opened the half hitting 11-of-16, to go on a 20-6 run and take a four point lead with 13 minutes left.

With the game tied at 48 with eight minutes left, Mo Evans heated up for the Mastodons, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to put Fort Wayne back up six.

USD would trim it to three with three minutes left, but the Mastodons grabbed just about every offensive rebound down the stretch, pushing the lead to nine 90 seconds later, and hanging on to win by six.

Neither team shot the ball well in the first half – Fort Wayne hit 36 percent, USD just 29 percent – but the Mastodons led by as many as 18 on the strength of five 3-pointers, 12 points off of eight Coyote turnovers, and runs of 6-0, 5-0, and 10-0 to lead 32-20 at the break.

Gruis had eight rebounds and seven blocked shots to go with his 14 points.  Evans led IPFW with 17 points.

USD actually outshot Fort Wayne 47 percent to 38 percent, but the Mastodons made up for it at the free throw line, taking advantage of Coyote fouls to attempt 34 free throws, making 24, while USD was 12-of-17 from the line.

South Dakota (9-15/3-6) plays at IUPUI Saturday at 1:00pm CST.

SUMMIT LEAGUE MEN: SDSU 77 OMAHA 60

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