SIOUX FALLS, SD -
Augustana scored a season-low 21 points in the first half as Upper Iowa earned a 77-66 victory over the Vikings at the Elmen Center in Sioux Falls on Friday night. Upper Iowa, ranked 10th in the NCAA Central Region, was led by Tucker Wentzien’s 31 points as the Peacocks improved to 18-9 on the season, including 14-7 in the NSIC.
Cameron McCaffrey finished the game with a team-high 29 points while freshman Tanner Odegaard added a season-high 11 points, knocking down three from 3-point range. Augustana, ranked third in the Central Region, drops to 18-7, 14-7 in conference action.
Daniel Jansen finished the game with 10 points and five rebounds before fouling out for the first time in his career, while Casey Schilling added eight points and six boards for the Vikings. UIU’s Sam Elgin finished with 13 points and nine rebounds while teammate Wentzien corralled 13 rebounds to go with his 31 points for a double-double.
After shooting just 27 percent from the field in the first half, Augustana finished the game shooting 37 percent from the field, hitting 7 of 25 3-pointers. Upper Iowa was 26 of 55 (47 percent) from the field while hitting four 3-pointers in the contest.
The Vikings shot well from the free throw line from the start, finishing 19 of 24 (79 percent) from the charity stripe.
The Peacocks dominated the glass against the Vikings, out-rebounding the home team 42-32 while scoring 40 of its 77 points in the paint.
The Vikings were cold from the opening tip-off starting the game 0 of 6 from the field allowing Upper Iowa to take a 5-0 lead in the first three minutes of the game. The Peacocks extended their run to 7-0 before McCaffrey scored the Vikings’ first basket of the game just under six minutes into the game making the score 7-2.
Nomeland came into the game and nailed a 3-pointer from the left corner cutting UIU’s lead to 7-5 but Wentzien scored six straight points for the Peacocks to push their lead to 13-8 with 10:45 left in the half. About a minute later, Jansen finished a 3-point-play getting a basket and a foul and hit the free throw to cut the UIU lead to five at 13-8.
McCaffrey cut UIU’s lead to three at 15-12 hitting two free throws with eight minutes in the half but the Peacocks swung the momentum when David Smith found Wentzien for a back-door alleyoop and Smith picked up a steal and a fastbreak dunk to put Upper Iowa in front 19-12.
Upper Iowa pushed its lead to 11 at 27-16 with three minutes to play in the first half. Augustana twice cut the lead to eight but the Peacocks took a 33-21 lead into the half. The 21 points in the half by Augustana marked a season-low.
Augustana shot 27 percent from the field (6 of 22) in the first half, including 2 of 7 from 3-point range. Wentzien was big for the Peacocks in the first half, finishing with 14 points on 7 of 10 shooting. He also grabbed six rebounds in the half as the Peacocks out-rebounded the Vikings 24-15 in the first frame. UIU grabbed 10 offensive rebounds in the half.
McCaffrey led the Vikings with eight points in the first half, but was just 2 of 7 from the field. The senior hit 4 of 4 shots from the free throw line, helping the Vikings to 7 of 9 free throw shooting in the first half.
The Peacocks shot 46 percent (15 of 33) from the field in the first half, but were just 1 of 6 from 3-point range. UIU dominated down low early, scoring 26 of its 33 first half points in the paint.
Augustana opened the second half on a 5-3 run over the first minute to cut UIU’s lead to 10 at 36-26. The Vikings would not come that close again until Odegaard nailed his second 3-pointer of the game to bring the Vikings within 10 at 59-49 with 6:02 to play in the game. During that stretch, Upper Iowa led by as much as 15 four times.
The Peacocks responded out of an Augustana timeout after the Odegaard 3-pointer, with Jake Hughes converting a 3-point-play and Wentzien slamming home his 11th field goal of the game pushing the lead back to 15 at 64-49.
Augustana went on a 10-5 run over the next three minutes to cut Upper Iowa’s lead to eight at 67-59 with 2:04 to go in the game. This was the first time that the UIU’s lead was less than 10 since the 18-minute mark of the first half.
Elgin hit a free throw to bring Upper Iowa’s lead back up to nine before Schilling cut the lead to seven at 70-63 with a layup. The Peacocks hit seven free throws in the final minute of the game to hold on for the win.
Augustana will play its final regular season game of the season tomorrow night, hosting Winona State at 6 p.m.
Sports Information Director
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