Augie's road rally ends in heartbreaker

Posted Online: Feb. 06, 2013, 11:56 pm
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WHEATON – A solid second-half effort that pulled the Augustana College men's basketball team back into Wednesday evening's game went for naught here at King Arena.

The Vikings' rally came up a possession short in the CCIW battle for third place as No. 22 nationally-ranked Wheaton had the ball bounce its way at critical times, in a 58-57 Augie setback.

The loss dropped Augie (16-6, 6-5 CCIW) from a third-place tie with Wheaton (17-5, 7-4) into a fourth-place tie with Carthage (11-11, 6-5). Augie has beaten Carthage twice, so the Vikings hold the tiebreaker for getting the fourth spot into the upcoming CCIW Tournament.

But the Vikings could have been in such better shape had they been able to avenge two straight blowout losses to the Thunder – including an 86-67 drubbing three weeks ago at the Carver Center.

The Vikings actually had the ball twice in the final 62 seconds with a chance to take the lead. The first time, freshman Ben Ryan (nine points, 11 rebounds) took the ball to the basket, got bumped a bit according to Coach Grey Giovanine, and lost control of the ball without a foul being called.

With about a six second differential, Wheaton then ran down the shot clock, almost lost possession and then called a timeout with the shot clock at :02. Brayden Teuscher then launched a desperation 3 from beyond the top of the key that barely caught iron and bounded all the way over to the Wheaton bench.

A hustling Mark Roth ran down the loose ball and saved it to Dan Jurgutis, who did not have enough time to get off a shot at the final buzzer as he crossed mid-court.

"I'm really proud of our guys,'' said Giovanine, "I thought we outplayed them. But we had too many turnovers to win on the road like that.''

The Vikings were their own worst enemy at times with 17 turnovers – many of them very sloppy mistakes – to Wheaton's eight.

"You look at the stats and they had eight more field goal attempts than we had (55-47),'' said Giovanine. "You can't have that many empty possessions and not get a shot off. ... We had 10 guys play and all 10 had at least one turnover.''

Augie, which employed quite a bit of zone defense against a team that ranked eighth nationally in 3-point shooting percentage, trailed 28-20 at the half.

With the Thunder hitting just 4-of-19 triples, the Vikings had a path back into the game and took it. Wheaton extended its lead to 10 early in the second half, but Augie battled back and had it a two-point game by the 9:49 mark on Ryan's bucket.

But the Vikings could never tie it or get the lead from that point, drawing within one at 58-57 with 1:34 left on two Ryan free throws.

Brandon Kunz led Augie's scoring with 12 points and Jurgutis added 11. Brandon Thompson also added nine for the Vikings, who out-rebounded the Thunder 40-24.

Tyler Peters, who leads the league in scoring, and Nathan Haynes led the Thunder with 21 and 16 points, respectively. Haynes tied for the team lead with six rebounds and had five blocks.

The loss leaves the Vikings playing for their post-season lives now, knowing they have to not only play their way into the CCIW Tournament, but also win that in order to earn a spot in the NCAA Div. III National Championships.

"It's going to be hard,'' said Giovanine, noting his club hosts former No. 1-ranked North Central Saturday. "We have three regular-season games left and we're going to have to play our way in. ... But I sure liked the look of our team the last 20 minutes of play.''

QC college men
Wheaton 58, Augustana 57
AUGUSTANA (16-6, 6-5 CCIW)
Ryan 3-7 3-4 3 11 19, Dexter 0-1 1-2 2 1 1, Kunz 4-6 4-4 1 6 12, Thompson 4-8 0-0 2 5 9, Jurgutis 4-9 2-2 1 5 11, Roth 2-5 1-2 0 4 5, Johnson 1-4 2-2 1 1 4, Straughter 1-2 0-0 0 0 2, Hoepfner 1-3 0-0 1 0 2, Pils 1-2 0-0 1 0 2. Team rebounds 7. Totals 21-47 13-16 12 40 57.
WHEATON (17-5, 7-4 CCIW)
Peters 7-19 6-6 2 6 21, Haynes 7-8 2-5 4 6 16, Berg 0-1 0-0 2 0 0, Teuscher 3-12 0-0 0 3 8, P.Smith 1-2 2-3 4 3 4, Kvam 2-9 0-0 1 3 5, Serenius 2-2 0-0 0 0 4, J.Smith 0-1 0-0 2 0 0, Sokovich 0-0 0-0 1 0 0, Fisher 0-1 0-0 0 0 0. Team rebounds 3. Totals 22-55 10-14 16 24 58.
Halftime: Wheaton 28-20. 3s: Augie 2-9 (Jurgutis 1-2, Thompson 1-4, Roth 0-3); WC 4-19 (Teuscher 2-7, Peters 1-3, Kvam 1-7, P.Smith 0-1, Fisher 0-1). Assists: Augie 8 (Jurgutis 3, Ryan 2); WC 10 (Teuscher 4). Turnovers: Augie 17, WC 8. Blocks: Augie 3 (Thompson 2); WC 6 (Haynes 5). Steals: Augie 4 (Hoepfner 2); WC 10 (Kvam 5, Teuscher 3).


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