Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2013, 11:02 pm

Vikings pull out `big' win over Big Blue

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Staff report, sports@qconline.com

DECATUR – Knowing the big guys were going to be an integral part of the gameplan, the Augustana College men's basketball team may not have liked its chances Wednesday night against Millikin with veteran post player Brandon Kunz getting only 11 minutes of playing time.

Because of the lingering effects of an illness that forced him to miss all of Monday's practice and part of Tuesday's workout, Kunz was MIA in the first half of the CCIW game at the Griswold Center.

But Augie's fellow bigs – including first-year transfer Nic Hoepfner and freshmen Ben Ryan and the little-used Brandon Motzel – came through in a big way to carry the Vikings to the 63-54 league victory.

Hoepfner (12 points, six rebounds in his first Augie start), Ryan (team-high 16 points, 11 rebounds), Motzel (six points, three rebounds in just six minutes), Kunz (eight points, five rebounds) and starting forward George Dexter (four points, three rebounds) combined for 46 of Augie's points in the road victory that kept the Vikings in a logjam for third place in the league.

"In Brandon Kunz's absence, those guys did a great job,'' said Augie coach Grey Giovanine of the other bigs. "He came up to us at halftime, felt like he had hydrated enough and said he thought he could go. He did certainly spark us in the second half.''

Giovanine pointed to one play late that displayed the type of effort the ailing Kunz brought to the floor. With Augie (14-4, 4-3 CCIW) leading 54-49 with just over two minutes remaining, Millikin (7-11, 3-4 CCIW) had nearly forced a shot-clock violation, but the Vikings were given one second with the ball out of bounds. Following a timeout, Brandon Thompson lofted an alley-oop pass for Kunz in the paint, who in one motion grabbed the ball and made the shot for a 56-49 lead and a bit of breathing room.

"That was really a big play for us,'' said Giovanine. "They stopped us, basically, and we still got a basket. That was a key turning point late.''

Millikin's sticky perimeter defense made it tough on Augie's offense to get much going outside of the paint. Outside of the five bigs who were 19-of-30 from the field, Augie's other seven were a combined 3 for 22.

"They really extend their defense, which means they are going to be exposed inside,'' said Giovanine. "We thought we could score inside, but we were thinking it would be Kunz.''

Giovanine also credited his defense, which held a young Big Blue team that started five freshmen to 36.5-percent (19-of-52) shooting from the field. TJ Griffin and Deavis Johnson led the Big Blue with 15 and 13 points, respectively.

"We really felt like we did a good job defensively,'' said Giovanine, whose club also held a 41-30 rebounding advantage. "It was a great grind-it-out win,''





BASKETBALL
QC college men
Augustana 63, Millikin 54
AUGUSTANA (14-4, 4-3 CCIW)
Ryan 8-12 0-1 3 11 16, Dexter 2-3 0-0 0 3 4, Hoepfner 5-8 2-4 4 6 12, Straughter 0-3 2-3 1 4 2, Jurgutis 1-8 2-3 2 0 4, Thompson 2-5 4-7 3 3 8, Roth 0-5 1-2 2 0 1, Johnson 0-1 2-2 1 1 2, Kunz 1-2 6-6 1 5 8, Pils 0-0 0-0 0 1 0, Motzel 3-3 0-0 0 3 6, Hill 0-0 0-0 0 0 0. Team rebounds 4.  Totals 22-52 19-28 17 41 63.
MILLIKIN (7-11, 3-4 CCIW)
Kinmon 0-6 0-0 2 7 0, Griffin 5-12 2-2 2 1 15, Wilfer 3-3 0-1 5 1 6, Johnson 5-9 3-6 5 5 13, Windemuller 0-2 2-2 1 1 2, Robbins 2-8 4-5 3 0 8, Owens 0-3 1-3 2 4 1, Pilackas 2-3 0-0 1 0 4, Gardner 1-3 0-0 1 1 3, Tueth 1-2 0-0 0 3 2, Clark 0-1 0-0 0 0 0, Knapp 0-0 0-0 2 1 0, Godwin 0-0 0-0 0 0 0, Day 0-0 0-0 0 0 0. Team rebounds 6. Totals 19-52 12-19 24 30 54.
Halftime: Augie 28-24. 3s: Augie 0-4 (Jurgutis 0-1, Roth 0-3); MU 4-18 (Griffin 3-8, Gardner 1-2, Pilackas 0-1, Windemuller 0-2, Robbins 0-2, Kinmon 0-3). Assists: Augie 11 (Thompson 4); MU 9 (Griffin 2, Gardner 2, Owens 2). Turnovers: Augie 16, MU 16. Blocks: Augie 1 (Kunz); MU 7 (Kinmon 4). Steals: Augie 9 (Jurgutis 3, Thompson 2); MU 9 (Griffin 4).