By Con Marshall Box Score
The Sioux Falls Cougars scored on an alley-oop inbounds play with barely more than a second remaining to edge the Chadron State Eagles 69-68 in a non-conference men’s basketball game Saturday afternoon in the Chicoine Center.
The outcome was a heart-breaker for the Eagles, who played their hearts out trying to topple Sioux Falls, which beat them 96-78 on the Cougars’ home court last year. Chadron State may not have defended the winning shot well, but it was executed to perfection by the South Dakota team.
The Eagles had taken a 68-67 lead when center Porter Anderson grabbed a rebound and made the put-back with eight seconds remaining.
After a timeout, Sioux Falls missed an off-balance shot. The referees ruled that the ball was knocked out of bounds by the Eagles with 1.7 seconds remaining. After the refs spent several minutes looking at the video to make sure their call was right, the play unfolded.
Jake Kettner inbounded the ball by lobbing it over about a half dozen players in the paint to 6-foot-6 sophomore Noah Puetz. He was about eight feet away from the basket when he jumped, caught the ball and shot all in one motion. Puetz was just one of eight from the field when he sank the winning shot.
The officials reviewed the video again after the shot. They determined 1.1 seconds were still on the clock, but it was not enough time for the Eagles to get off a viable shot.
While Kettner was one-of-10 shooting, his pass to Puetz gave him six assists.
Two players—one on each side—had outstanding games. Matt Cartwright, a 6-6 grad student, led Sioux Falls with 27 points on nine-of-18 shooting from the field, including six-of-nine on 3-pointers. He also made three-of-five free throws and grabbed eight rebounds.
The 6-7 Anderson paced the Eagles with 24 points while making eight of 10 field goal shots, nearly all of them power layups, and eight-of-11 free throws to go with six rebounds.
Anderson had a reason for wanting to play well. A year ago during the game in Sioux Falls, he was inadvertently hit, sustaining a broken nose and a concussion that forced him to miss the Eagles’ next six games and wear a mask a few more times.
The Eagles got off to a slow start Saturday and trailed 23-9 midway in the first half. However, they got untracked and tallied 14 of the next 16 points, and were behind just 31-28 at halftime.
It was nip-and-tuck the rest of the game with nine more lead changes and four ties. A layup by Anderson with 11:52 to play put CSC ahead 50-44 for the biggest lead either team owned in the second half.
Besides Anderson, the Eagles had two more players score in double figures. Guard Isaiah Wyatt had 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, all off the defensive glass. Point guard Marcus Jefferson had 11 while going seven-of-eight at the free throw line.
Sioux Falls’ only double-digit scorer besides Cartwright, who now has scored 85 points in four games, was point guard Jack Thompson with 11.
Sioux Falls is 3-1 and Chadron State 0-3. The Eagles will host Nebraska-Kearney on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Sioux Falls—Matt Cartwright 27, Jack Thompson 11, Zane Alm 8, Chase Grinde 8, Trent Lippoldt 4, Noah Pueltz 4, Kenji Scales 4, Jack Kettner 3. Totals: 27-66 (9-22) 6-11 69 points, 38 rebounds, 7 turnovers.
Chadron State—Porter Anderson 24, Isaiah Wyatt 12, Marcus Jefferson 11, Bryce Latimer 9, MJ Foust 5, Jarrett Taylor 4, Pat McLachian 3. Totals: 22-51 (4-12) 20-32 69 points, 40 rebounds, 9 turnovers.
Sioux Falls 31 38 —69
Chadron State 39 40 —68
3-pointers: USF—Cartwright 6, Scales 1, Thompson 1, Kettner 1. CSC—Wyatt 2, Latimer 1, McLachlan 1.