Augustana (6-0, 2-0 NSIC) and Southwest Minnesota State (4-5, 1-1 NSIC) exchanged the lead four times in the final five minutes of the game before Cameron McCaffrey put the Vikings ahead 64-62 with 1:18 to play helping Augustana to a 70-65 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference win over the Mustangs on Friday night.
McCaffrey finished the game with 16 points after spending the early parts of the game in foul trouble. Augustana had four players in double-figures, including McCaffrey, Brennan Olson (13), Casey Schilling (13), and Alex Richter (11). Olson’s 13 points is a career-high while Schilling’s 13 is a season-high for the freshman.
Augustana has now won six straight games to open the season for the first time since winning eight straight to open a season in 1993-94. The last time Augustana won six straight games was from Nov. 22 through Dec. 17 of last season.
Jordan Miller led SMSU with 24 points on 10 of 20 shooting. Miller was 2 of 10 from 3-point range as SMSU was just 3 of 17 from 3-point range in the game. Lavione West scored 11 points for the Mustangs on 5 of 7 shooting.
Augustana shot 40 percent (21 of 53), including 4 of 12 from 3-point range. Schilling hit a season-high three 3-pointers for the Vikings. SMSU was 25 of 52 shooting (48 percent) for the game.
SMSU took an early 7-2 lead in the first three minutes of the game before the Vikings were able to cut into the lead and eventually tie the game at 11 with 12:49 to play in the half.
After knotting the score, Augustana went on a 14-4 run to take a 23-15 lead with 8:06 left in the half. Olson helped push the Vikings to the lead scoring six straight points.
The Mustangs closed-out the first half on a 13-6 run and Augustana took a 29-28 lead into halftime. Miller got SMSU back into the contest hitting a 3-pointer with 52 seconds left and on the next possession drilled a 16-footer to cut Augustana’s lead to one just before the half.
Both teams played an even first half with the Vikings connecting on 11 of 27 (40 percent) from the field while SMSU was 12 of 26 shooting (46 percent). Augustana was 2 of 5 from 3-point range while the Mustangs hit 2 of 8 3-pointers in the half.
Olson led the Vikings in the half with nine points on 3 of 3 shooting, and hitting three free throws, while Richter finished with six points on 3 of 3 shooting. Casey Schilling was 2 of 3 from 3-point range in the first half and had eight points.
Miller led the Mustangs with 11 points on 4 of 9 shooting and was 2 of 2 from the free throw line. The first half saw three tie scores and one lead change.
The second half started off very fast paced as both teams traded the first 12 points on the fastbreak. West brought the Mustangs within one at 35-34 but failed to connect on the 3-point-play opportunity and the Vikings held on to a lead.
On the next possession Zach Huisken put Augustana back up by three at 37-34 with a strong move inside before Olson converted a 3-point-play making a bucket down low getting the foul and hitting the free throw to extend the Vikings’ lead to five at 39-34.
SMSU went on an 8-0 run at the 12-minute mark of the second half led by Tramel Barnes’ six points helping the Mustangs take their first (47-45) lead since the 13:45 mark of the first half. SMSU continued with the momentum after a dunk by Miller to push the Mustangs’ lead to 49-45.
A minute later West but SMSU up by six at 51-45 and the back-and-forth battle began. From that point on the teams would exchange four leads before Augustana went ahead for good with 1:18 left in the game on a driving bucket by McCaffrey that put the Vikings in front 64-62.
From that point on Augustana would hit six free throws to ice the game as the Vikings would go on to win 70-65 over SMSU.
With neither team shooting lights out from outside, Augustana was able to score 34 points in the paint to 30 for SMSU. The Mustangs turned the ball over 14 times in the game and Augustana took advantage scoring 20 points off turnovers.
For the sixth straight game Augustana led in rebounds finishing with 36, including 13 offensive boards. The Vikings scored 11 second chance points in the game.
Augustana returns to action tomorrow night hosting cross-town rival University of Sioux Falls at 6 p.m. at the Elmen Center.
Courtesy: Tim Evans, Sports Information Director, Augustana College