Augustana overcame a furious second-half effort by Concordia University, St. Paul and came away with a 67-66 victory in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference basketball action on Saturday night in Sioux Falls. The Vikings (9-2, 5-2 NSIC) lost the lead for the first time in the game with 10:01 left in the second half but was able to hold off the Golden Bears (2-9, 0-7 NSIC) for the win.
Cameron McCaffrey moved into ninth on the all-time scoring list at Augustana in the win, finishing with 17 points. McCaffrey has now scored 1,523 career points as he passed Brett Szabo who scored 1,510 career points from 1987-91.
Casey Schilling finished with a season-high 14 points for the Vikings while Zach Huisken matched career-highs in points (10) and rebounds (7).
Yuriy Malashenko added a season-high 11 points for the Vikings on 3 of 5 shooting, knocking down three 3-pointers all in the first half.
Terez VanPelt led Concordia-St. Paul with a game-high 19 points on 6 of 12 shooting. VanPelt was 5 of 5 from the free throw line as well. Nick Mabbutt and Cole Olstad each finished with 12 points for the Golden Bears while Isaiah Thomas added 10 points and six rebounds. All nine of CU’s losses on the season have come by 10 or less points.
Augustana got off to a fast start opening the first three minutes on an 11-2 run. Schilling gave the Vikings’ a 4-0 lead on a fastbreak bucket and was able to draw the foul to set himself up at the free throw line. He converted the 3-point play to put Augustana in front 5-0.
Schilling and Huisken scored on back-to-back possessions to give the Vikings a 9-0 lead before Cole Olstad got the Golden Bears on the board at 16:29 to make the score 9-2.
Augustana continued to push the Golden Bears over the first five and a half minutes of the game, extending its run to 18-2 after a 3-pointer by Yuriy Malashenko and a basket by Leif Nomeland.
VanPelt scored five straight points for the Golden Bears hitting two free throws and a 3-pointer to make the score 18-7 with 11:39 to play in the half. The Vikings pushed its lead up to 17 after back-to-back 3-pointers by Richter and Malashenko making the score 24-7.
Augustana went on a short drought, playing two and a half minutes without a basket, while CU came to within 13 at 26-11 before Schilling scored on two straight possessions to push the lead back to 17 at 28-11 with 7:53 left in the half.
Tanner Odegaard and Schilling hit back-to-back 3-pointers just over a minute later giving the Vikings a 34-16 lead.
Isaiah Thomas was left open twice and he made the Vikings pay bringing the Golden Bears within 10 at 36-26 hitting two straight shots from behind the arc.
Malashenko hit his third 3-pointer of the first half and VanPelt scored with seven seconds left in the half to make the score 41-28 at halftime.
Augustana was 6 of 9 from 3-point range in the first half, led by three from Malashenko. The Vikings were 15 of 29 from the field (51 percent) while CU shot 35 percent on 11 of 31 shooting.
Schilling led the Vikings in the first half with 12 points and five rebounds. VanPelt finished the first half with 13 points for the Golden Bears.
Concordia-St. Paul came out strong to start the second half to cut Augustana’s lead to nine at 46-37 after a 3-pointer by Olstad. From that point on, Concordia-St. Paul went on a 15-7 run to cut the Vikings’ lead to one at 53-52 midway through the second half.
McCaffrey hit two free throws to take back the lead at 55-54 with 9:32 on the clock before Mabbutt and VanPelt pushed the Golden Bears’ lead to five at 64-59 with 5:43 left in the game.
McCaffrey once again used his late-game heroics to bring the Vikings to victory. The senior scored eight points in the final five minutes of the game to help Augustana earn a one-point victory over the Golden Bears.
McCaffrey brought the Vikings within three at 64-61 at the 5:16 mark and within one (64-63) at the 4:47 mark after a CU turnover.
The Vikings took the lead (65-64) after another Golden Bear turnover and fastbreak bucket by McCaffrey with 4:20 left in the game.
Thomas hit two free throws to tie and give the Golden Bears a lead with 4:02 to play in the game and McCaffrey scored the go-ahead basket on a layup with 2:47 remaining in the game to make the score 67-66.
The Golden Bears missed four field goal attempts in the final minutes of the game and the Vikings were able to walk away with the win.
Augustana will return to action next Friday, Jan. 11, traveling to Bemidji, Minn. to take on Bemidji State at 8 p.m. The Vikings will then take on Minnesota, Crookston on Saturday night at 6 p.m.
Courtesy: Tim Evans, Sports Information Director, Augustana College