(From the USD sports desk)
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – It was nearly a Hollywood ending for the South Dakota men’s basketball team but fell 85-82 Tuesday night to UCLA inside Pauley Pavilion.
Trailing by 24 points with 5:01 remaining in the game, South Dakota tallied 14-straight points to pull within 10 points with just under two minutes remaining. The run included dunks from Tyler Peterson and Dan Jech and concluded with a layup from Nick Fuller to bring the score to 78-68 with 1:55 showing on the clock.
On the following USD possession, Armstrong was fouled on a 3-point attempt and calmly went to the free throw line making all three shots, pulling USD within five points. Tyler Peterson then had a steal on the inbounds pass and scored on a layup as the comeback was looking more and more probable with 24 seconds remaining in the game and the Coyotes trailing by four at 83-79. Needing to foul, the Coyotes sent Jaylen Hands to the free throw line where he hit 1-of-2 free throws to push the lead to five points with eight seconds remaining.
South Dakota, out of timeouts, quickly pushed the ball up the floor where Armstrong hit his third trey of the game with three seconds remaining. South Dakota sent Hands to the charity stripe again, where he replicated his last trip making 1-of-2, giving UCLA a three-point advantage with 1.5 seconds on the clock. However, South Dakota was unable to get a shot off leading to the final score of 85-82.
South Dakota made 29-of-70 shots for 41.4 percent from the field. Matt Mooney tallied a game-high 23 points while Armstrong added 15 points and Peterson tallied 12 points. Thomas Welsh led the Bruins with 19 points and 11 rebounds as four others tallied double-digits. UCLA shot 45.5 percent from the field on 30-of-66 shot attempts. South Dakota carried a lead as large as seven points in the first half.
The Coyotes close out the first half of their season Thursday, hosting Northland College at 7:30 p.m. The contest is a doubleheader following the women’s game against North Dakota.