Stellar Defense Keys College of Idaho Win
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Box Score) - Head coach Scott Garson and his top-seeded Yotes started the second half on a 19-4 spurt and never looked back to advance in the Duer Bracket with a 66-50 win over No. 8 Mayville State (N.D.).
Mayville State got a big lift early from senior Garek Droog, who scored eight straight points as the Comets led by a small margin for most of the opening ten minutes.
Boasting the second ranked defense in the country this season, College of Idaho overcame that fast start by an energy-filled Comets team to hold a slim four-point lead at the break. The Yotes took a 23-21 deficit and turned it into a 32-28 lead thanks to some long-range shooting and stellar defense inside.
The start of the second half is where the game was won as the Yotes scored 19 of the first 23 points while holding Mayville State to just four points in the first 11-plus minutes.
"What an effort by Mayville State, said coach Garson. “That is a really good basketball team and they made it very difficult on us all night."
College of Idaho ended the game by allowing just 22 second half points and limited the Comets to 38.8% shooting (21/54), including just 4/13 from behind the 3-point arc.
"Our defense was incredible and led to some transition buckets early in that second half to get our offense going. They (Mayville State) have so many solid players and we forced them to take some tough shots which turned into some great offense on the other end for us."
Droog led the Comets, who end the season at 18-11 overall, with 16 points and four rebounds while Gorg Alhag had a team-best five assists in the loss.
College of Idaho got 14 points from Nate Bruneel as he led a trio of Yotes in double figures. Aziz Leeks posted nine points and a game-high nine rebounds as he helped College of Idaho out-rebound Mayville State, 46-21.
The Yotes, who improve to 28-6 overall, will continue play on Friday at 7:30 p.m. against the winner of Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) and Governor's State (Ill.).