Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2013, 8:55 pm

Defense, rebounding spur Augie's romp

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Staff report, sports@qconline.com

CHICAGO – Tied at 33 with just under two minutes left in the first half, Saturday's CCIW men's basketball game between visiting Augustana and hosting North Park took a decided turn.

From that point, Augie closed the half with an 11-0 run and Coach Grey Giovanine's club never looked back en route to a convincing 90-61 victory over a new-look NPU club. The Chicago-land Vikings have been playing teams tough with some new players since Augie handled them by 35 earlier this month at the Carver Center.

"We finally stopped them,'' said Giovanine of what spurred that late-half spree and led to a season-high in points. "They had been scoring at a 60-percent clip until then. We finished the half with four stops and four scores. It was just a matter of our defense finally taking root.''

The coach wasn't upset with his team's defense through those first 18+ minutes, either.

"Our defense wasn't that bad up until then,'' said Giovanine, whose club fell out of the Top 25 poll this week, but is still receiving votes. "They made some really tough shots, some contested shots that they weren't going to continue to make.''

And while that was happening, the Rock Island Vikings were imparting their will in the paint against a group that started four guards. Augie finished with a whopping 52-13 advantage on the boards. At halftime, Augie had a 20-4 rebounding edge.

"We just really dominated the glass,'' said Giovanine. "We talked before the game that they didn't have a very big group and we wanted to get the shots we missed and we did.''

The victory, Augie's second on the road this week, moved the Vikings to 15-4, 5-3 in the CCIW (and no worse than a share of third place) heading into Wednesday's home battle with rival Illinois Wesleyan. The nationally 16th-ranked Titans (16-3, 8-0 CCIW) ran past Elmhurst Saturday 71-52.

" It was great to go on the road and get two wins this week,'' said Giovanine. "It keeps us right in the mix of the conference race. Hopefully it gives us some real momentum going into Wednesday.''

The Vikings picked up the "mo'' late in Saturday's first half when North Park mis-fired on three 3-pointers and had a turnover on its final four possessions. Augie turned those chances into a Griffin Pils jumper, two free throws by Dan Jurgutis and then his 3-pointer and two layups by Brandon Kunz.

Kunz, healthy after being under the weather earlier this week, was 7-for-11 from the field as he popped for a game-high 19 points to go with nine rebounds. Jurgutis, finally bouncing back from an ankle injury earlier this month, added 17 points as he was 3-for-4 from 3-point range.

A pair of former United Township preps also had solid outings off the bench. Sophomore Nic Hoepfner had 11 points and five rebounds in 13 minutes and freshman Tayvian Johnson added 10 points and six rebounds.

"I thought Tayvian had as good an effort as he's had in a conference game; he really gave us a good lift,'' said Giovanine. "Nic has been steady; in the minutes he has gotten, he's really been productive.''

Chris Benjamin led NPU with 18 points. All-CCIW performer Mark Holmes, who had 11 points at half, finished with 15.




BASKETBALL
QC college men
Augustana 90, North Park 61
AUGUSTANA (15-4, 5-3 CCIW)
Ryan 2-8 0-0 0 2 4, Dexter 2-3 2-2 4 1 6, Kunz 7-11 5-6 1 9 19, Thompson 2-3 3-4 1 4 7, Jurgutis 6-10 2-2 1 2 17, Johnson 4-6 2-4 3 6 10, Straughter 1-2 0-1 2 5 2, Pils 2-2 0-0 0 2 4, Hoepfner 5-7 1-1 3 5 11, Roth 0-2 0-2 1 1 0, Motzel 0-0 2-3 1 3 2, Hill 1-2 3-4 0 1 6, Norcia 0-1 2-2 1 1 2, Dziagwa 0-0 0-0 1 1 0, Gylten 0-0 0-0 0 2 0. Team rebounds 7. Totals 32-57 22-31 19 52 90.
NORTH PARK (6-13, 1-7 CCIW)
Holmes 6-11 1-2 3 2 15, Cassita 1-3 0-0 2 0 2, McGee 0-4 2-2 1 1 2, Hyrn 1-6 0-2 4 1 3, Benjamin 6-9 5-5 2 1 18, Burnett 3-7 0-0 0 2 8, Bogaard 1-3 1-2 1 1 4, McCarthy 1-1 2-2 2 1 4, Peterson 0-0 0-0 2 0 0, Kucera 0-2 1-2 0 0 1, Johannson 0-0 0-0 2 0 0, Welch 1-2 0-0 0 0 2, Clarke 0-2 0-0 1 0 0, Rummel 0-0 0-0 2 1 0, Kurz 0-1 2-2 2 1 2, Kirk 0-0 0-0 0 0 0. Team rebounds 2. Totals 20-51 14-19 24 13 61.
Halftime: Augie 44-33. 3s: Augie 4-11 (Jurgutis 3-4, Hill 1-2, Thompson 0-1, Ryan 0-1, Norcia 0-1, Roth 0-2); NPU 7-24 (Holmes 2-4, Burnett 2-6, Benjamin 1-2, Bogaard 1-2, Hyrn 1-3, Cassita 0-1, Kucera 0-1, Kurz 0-1, McGee 0-2, Clarke 0-2). Assists: Augie 18 (Roth 4, Thompson 3, Ryan 3, Straughter 3); NPU 12 (Holmes 2, Hyrn 2, Benjamin 2). Turnovers: Augie 19, NPU 11. Blocks: Augie 7 (Ryan 2); NPU 2 (Holmes, McGee). Steals: Augie 3 (Ryan, Pils, Johnson); NPU 4 (four with one each).