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South Dakota meets Sam Houston for the Palms Division crown

The game

South Dakota will face Sam Houston in the Palms Division championship game Wednesday afternoon. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET from the Suncoast Credit Union Arena in Fort Myers, Florida.

The game will be streamed live on the host college’s website at Fans can tune in to the game on Coyote Sports Network with John Thayer on KVHT 106.3 FM in Yankton/Vermillion or through The Varsity Network app.

The series

Wednesday’s championship game will mark the second time the two programs have met. The first duel ended in a triple overtime thriller in the 2014 season. Sam Houston outlasted the Coyotes with a final score of 93-85 in triple overtime. The game was the first round of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

The coyotes

The USD used a quality second-half performance to bring down LIU in the opening round of the Fort Myers tip-off. Four Coyotes scored in double digits, led by Mason Archambaults 19 points. Tasos Kamateros (13), Paul Bruns (11) and AJ Plitzuweit (10) all joined in the double-digit effort on Tuesday. It was the fourth time this season that South Dakota had multiple players in double figures. Damani Hayes was all over the floor that game, grabbing 14 rebounds in 18 minutes of play.

Over five games, Plitzuweit leads the team with 14.8 points per game and 53 percent shot on target. Hayes is the team’s leading rebounder with eight rebounds per game Kruz Perrott Hunt handed out 2.4 assists per game as the top team.

The Bärkats

In his 12th season with the Bearkats, Jason Hooten started the Bearkats 5-0 in 2022. Sam Houston has two power five wins against Oklahoma and Utah this season. SHSU was the only Palms Division team to win their matchup against a Beach Division team before traveling to Fort Myers. The Bearkats overcame Norther Illinois in their first round game, winning by 34 points and shooting over 50 percent from the floor and the three-point line.

In addition to averaging 81 points per game, Sam Houston locks defensively and allows just 48.2 points per game. With a difference of 33.6 points, they hold the fourth best point margin in the country. The nation’s second-best scoring defense averages 11 steals per game and 3.2 blocks per game. The Bearkats offense is led by Qua Grant, a 6-1 senior from DeSoto, Texas. Grant leads the team with 14.4 points per game and has 24 assists in five games. Lamar Wilkerson is the other player averaging double digits at 10.8 points per game.

One last thing

South Dakota is aiming for its first MTE championship since winning the Rainbow Classic earlier in the 2019-20 season. The Coyotes scored a perfect 3-0 at the Rainbow Classic.