Starting off their 2018-19 Northern Sun Conference slate at the Sioux Falls Arena, the Augustana men’s basketball team battled Wayne State down the stretch but came up short in a 65-54 loss. The Vikings are now 3-3 (0-1 NSIC) and Wayne State moves to 6-1 (1-0 NSIC).
The Viking were led by A.J. Plitzuweit with 14 points, including a pair of threes. Fellow freshman Michael Schaefer added in 11 points with 8 boards, and big man Tyler Riemersma recorded the Viking’s second double-double of the season, finishing with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
Augustana head coach Tom Billeter was disappointed in the loss but knows he has a young team with a bright future. “Credit to Wayne State – they played really well,” Billeter said. “I really like our team. They’re a young group and will continue to get better throughout the year. Now we have to get ready for a really tough road trip next weekend.”
Although the Vikings trailed 5-0 early, Augustana answered with a 5-0 run of their own. Schaefer scored inside, and on the next possession, Matt Cartwright buried a 25-foot three from the left wing. Moments later, Riemersma got inside to score off glass, but following a Vance Janssen jumper, the Vikings still trailed 15-7 at the 14-minute mark of the 1st.
Although Augustana started just 3-10 from the field, back-to-back buckets from the Vikings – a Trevor Hanson layup and Schaefer shot off the window – cut into the Wildcat lead. However, the Wildcats Kendall Jacks scored four points late as WSU ended the half on a 9-5 run and 33-25 lead.
The second half started with the Vikings looking to come back. Plitzuweit started off the second with five straight points, and then a Riemersma offensive rebound and putback made a three-point game at 38-35.
Following a Wildcat three, Trevor Hanson used a putback bucket of his own to make it a one-point game, but the Vikings couldn’t grab the lead. Janssen, who led all players with 16 points, scored again to extend the Wayne State lead.
With 7 minutes left in the game, Dylan LeBrun swished home a long three a to 49-48 game, but that was as close as the Vikings would get on Saturday. Nick Ferrarini buried a baseline three to make a 59-52 game and put the contest on ice.
In the loss, the Vikings did control the glass, out-rebounding the Wildcats 41-38. The Vikings finished 5-19 (26.3%) from downtown, compared to just 24% for WSU. Overall, both teams shot under 40% from the field.
Augustana will now hit the road for their first NSIC road trip of the season. The Vikings will travel to Winona State to take on Warriors on Friday, Dec. 7, before visiting Upper Iowa on Saturday.