No. 3 seed and 24th-ranked Augustana (22-8) advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Central Region Tournament with a 79-65 win over the No. 6 seed Upper Iowa (20-12) on Saturday afternoon in Mankato, Minn.
Augustana will play the winner of the No. 2 seed Winona State and No. 7 seed Northeastern State University on Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Taylor Center in Mankato, Minn.
Augustana is now 9-12 in NCAA Tournament games.
The Vikings got double-figure scoring from four players, led by Cameron McCaffrey’s 23 point performance. McCaffrey also added seven assists in the contest.
Alex Richter dropped a career-high 18 points for Augustana while grabbing five rebounds. Evan Pierce pitched in with a season-high 11 points while Daniel Jansen picked up his third career double-double with 10 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.
Casey Schilling finished with seven points and seven rebounds for Augusta while Zach Huisken had a big first half and finished with nine points.
The Vikings shot 41 percent (13 of 32) in the contest, including 6 of 16 from 3-point range. Richter led the Vikings with 3 of 4 shooting from behind the arc.
Upper Iowa finished the game shooting 43 percent (23 of 54) from the field, including 5 of 15 from 3-point range. The Peacocks were 0 of 5 from 3-point range in the second half after hitting 5 of 10 from beyond the arc in the first half.
Bo Pagel led Upper Iowa with 19 points hitting 4 of 6 3-pointers in the contest while Sam Elgin finished with 15 points on 6 of 11 shooting.
The Vikings won the game at the free throw line hitting 23 of 31 in the game. Augustana out-rebounded Upper Iowa 41-31 in the game and grabbed 30 defensive rebounds.
Augustana opened the game on a 9-2 run in the first three minutes of the game getting the ball into the paint early and often to Huisken. Huisken had seven of the Vikings’ first nine points of the game. Augustana built an 11-3 lead heading into the game’s first media timeout after a pull-up jumper by McCaffrey with 16:02 left in the half.
Over the first four and a half minutes of the game, Upper Iowa did not make a field goal, scoring all three points at the free throw line. After the timeout, both teams could not get a shot to fall until Bo Pagel hit UIU’s first field goal of the game with a 3-pointer from the right wing making the score 11-6 with 14:08 to go in the half.
The Peacocks made it a two point game for the first time since the opening minutes on a 3-pointer by Jordan Hay from the top of the key.
Augustana was able to get to the free throw line three times on its next three possessions and pushed its lead up to five with Alex Richter making 3 of 4 and Daniel Jansen hitting 2 of 2. With 8:27 to play in the half Evan Pierce came up with a steal and the Vikings got their fans on their feet with a fastbreak bucket by Richter to make the score 22-13.
Upper Iowa called a timeout after the basket by Richter and Pagel nailed two 3-pointers for the Peacocks on consecutive possessions to cut Augustana’s lead to three at 22-19 with 7:39 remaining in the first half.
After the two 3-pointers by Pagel, Augustana went on an 8-3 run that was capped off by a three-point-play by Evan Pierce. Pierce ran the floor after a defensive rebound by Schilling got the bucket and the foul and hit the free throw to push Augustana’s lead to eight at 30-22.
The Vikings and the Peacocks went back and forth in the final three minutes of the half but Augustana took a 41-31 lead at the half.
Augustana finished the first half shooting 41 percent (13 of 32) from the field but was just 1 of 8 from the 3-point range. The Vikings used the double bonus to feed its first half lead, shooting 74 percent (14 of 19) from the line.
Upper Iowa made just nine field goals in the first half, shooting 33 percent from the field. The Peacocks were 5 of 10 from 3-point range in the half, led by Pagel’s 4 of 4 showing from behind the arc in the half.
McCaffrey led the Vikings with 14 first half points while Pagel led the Peacocks with 16 points. Upper Iowa was 8 of 16 in the half from the free throw line.
Augustana limited its turnovers in the first half finishing with three while Upper Iowa turned the ball over six times. The Vikings scored 22 of its 41 points in the first half in the paint.
Augustana opened the second half on a 7-2 run and forced an early timeout by Upper Iowa after Jansen nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key to put the Vikings up 78-33 in the first minute and a half of the second frame.
Just over a minute later, Jansen made it a 15 point game with a 3-pointer from the top of the key that put the Vikings in front 48-33 with 18:22 remaining in the game. Upper Iowa then went on a 6-2 run over the next three minutes of the game and made it an 11-point game at 50-39.
Richter responded for the Vikings by hitting two 3-pointers, one from each side of the court, giving Augustana a 56-41 lead. The Vikings led by as much as 17 points but Upper Iowa kept the press on the Vikings and cut the lead to 10 at 58-48 after a three-point-play by Tucker Wentzien.
Augustana responded with a 7-0 run of its own to push its lead back to 17 at 65-48 after Richter hit his third 3-pointer of the game with 8:31 to play.
Upper Iowa never got within 14 points in the final eight minutes of the game as the Vikings advanced to the semifinals of the Central Region Tournament.
Augusta will await its opponent in the semifinal game of the NCAA Central Region Tournament. The Vikings will player the winner of the No. 2 seed Winona State and No. 7 seed Northeastern State tomorrow at 5 p.m.
Courtesy: Tim Evans, Sports Information Director, Augustana College