Young Vikings hold on for opening victory


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Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2012, 11:14 pm
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AURORA — The Augustana College men's basketball team got just about everything it could have wanted in a season opener here Thursday night — including a harrowing 85-82 victory.

The Vikings, playing six freshmen and four sophomores and without two of their tested veterans, watched a 21-point, second-half lead dwindle in the final 15 minutes. However, late free throws from sophomore Brandon Thompson and freshman Hunter Hill gave the visitors a three-point lead just before a desperation half-court shot banged off the rim after the buzzer.

"Eight of our 11 guys played their first college varsity minutes, and we hung on for a great win," said Augie coach Grey Giovanine. "I couldn't be prouder or more pleased with the outcome in our opener."

Making the victory even more improbable was that the Vikings were without two of their veteran front-liners. Senior George Dexter was out with a chronic back issue that flared up two days ago. Junior Kevin Schlitter has been hampered by a sprained ankle that occurred in last week's final scrimmage.

In their place, freshmen Tayvian Johnson, Ben Ryan, Jake Gylten and Brandon Motzel got plenty of court time along with sophomore transfer Nic Hoepfner. Johnson and Hoepfner are former United Township standouts. Giovanine said that he was watching Thursday's junior varsity game closely to get an idea of who was playing well and might fill some varsity minutes.

"These guys had never played a varsity game, and we're playing a team that's supposed to win their league; they are good," said Giovanine, who started Johnson (four points and five rebounds before fouling out) and Ryan (13 points in 22 minutes) and played Hill (five points) 11 minutes.

There was reason to think that Augie could be good, too.Especially if grizzled sophomore point guard Dan Jurgutis can repeat the effort he had in the opener. Jurgutis popped for a team-high 29 points, dished out three assists and grabbed four rebounds in 31 minutes before fouling out.

Also stepping up was senior front-liner Brandon Kunz, who finished 10 points and 14 rebounds.

"Dan was unbelievable." said Giovanine. "He had 29 points and just carried us when we needed him. I hope he doesn't have to give us that much every night because I don't think he can. That's a 30-point performance on the road, against a team that could be in the NCAA Tournament."


















 



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  Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000.
1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city.
1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association.
1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College.
1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.




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