SIOUX FALLS — Matt Mooney scored 20 points on 8 of 10 shooting to help No. 2 seed South Dakota beat third-seeded Denver 76-58 on Monday night in the Summit League Tournament semifinals.
The Coyotes, who have won nine of their last 10 games since an 84-68 loss at Denver on Jan. 27, will play top-seeded South Dakota State in Tuesday's championship game. South Dakota (26-7) split its regular-season series with the Jackrabbits, handing South Dakota State its only conference loss of the season.
A win in the title game would clinch South Dakota's first NCAA Tournament berth and tie the Coyotes' single-season record for wins.
Ade Murkey's jumper about five minutes in gave Denver (15-15) a 5-4 lead, but Mooney answered with a jumper and Triston Simpson followed with a layup and then a 3-pointer to spark a 22-4 run over the next six-plus minutes and South Dakota led by double figures the rest of the way.
The Pioneers, who came in ranked No. 38 in Division I in field goal percentage (.479) and No. 7 in 3-point field-goal percentage (.410), shot just 32.6 percent (22 of 67) from the field and a season-low 15 percent (3 of 20) from beyond the arc.
Daniel Amigo led Denver with 16 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. The Pioneers had their five-game win streak snapped.