SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — USF’s Austin Slater converted a layup to give the Cougars a 57-48 lead with six minutes to play. However, a 13-4 Augustana run propelled the Vikings to a late lead as Augie picked up the 67-65 win over USF.
“They play a very physical brand of basketball and they’re good at it and it’s been good for them,” Augustana head coach Tom Billeter said. “It wasn’t a pretty game, but it was a tough game and both teams played really hard.”
After falling behind nine, the Vikings outscored USF 19-8 in the final six minutes to earn the come from behind victory.
“We had a timeout, we had a break and we just said ‘nobody is going to win this thing on one shot,’ Billeter said. “Sometimes in the past, I felt like we sped up or took threes after one pass and if you do that, you unravel and you fall apart. We did a really good job of almost going the other way.”
Dylan LeBrun throws down the slam in Augustana’s win over USF
The key to Augustana’s comeback was not their offensive production, but their ability to make stops on defense.
“You win close games with stops, I’ve always said that. Everybody thinks you have to outscore them, but no, you’ve got to out stop them,” Billeter said. “You have to keep them from scoring in order to win games.”
Friday’s game was important for the Vikings as they find themselves in a near must-win situation to climb into the NSIC playoffs.
“We’re in a situation right now where we pretty much have to win them all and we know that, and you know what, they do too,” Billeter said. “It should be a whale of a game tomorrow.”
Augustana and USF will wrap up the weekend double header on Saturday and coach Billeter believes we’ll see a similar style of ball game.
“We have got to just come out tomorrow and just do what we do,” Billeter said. “We’ve just got to do what we do and I know they’re going to do what they do and I think it will be a very similar game tomorrow.”
The Vikings and Cougars will tip-off on Saturday at the Stewart Center. Tip-off is set for 4:00 and highlights can be seen on KELO-TV.