WARRENSBURG, Mo. (AUGUSTANA) – The Augustana men’s basketball team claimed its fourth-straight season-opening victory Saturday night. The Vikings prevailed 90-73 over Arkansas Monticello at the Conference Crossover Challenge in Warrensburg, Missouri.
The season opener for both squads, the Vikings jump to 1-0 on the year while the Weevils fall to 0-1.
Junior Matt Cartwright tallied a game-high 27 points while five Vikings scored in double digits. Cartwright scored his 27 points on 9-of-18 shooting and hit five 3-point baskets.
Augustana went on a 19-4 run late in the second half to turn a two-point advantage into a 17-point lead, seizing control of the contest. The run began when freshman Isaac Fink scored on a fast-break layup pushing Augie’s lead to four points with 6:27 remaining in the game. The final point came on a Matt Todd free throw with 1:32 remaining, which boosted the Augustana advantage to 17 points at 88-71.
Todd and Fink both made their Viking debuts Saturday night, each tallying 11 points. Sophomore Michael Schaefer totaled 14 points while junior Tyler Riemersma had a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds. Riemersma totaled three double-doubles in 2018-19, all coming in the month of December.
After Arkansas Monticello scored the game’s opening basket, it was all Vikings throughout the first half and most of the second half. The Vikings’ lead grew to as many as 13 points in the first stanza just before halftime when Schaefer scored a layup with 14 seconds remaining. The Weevils answered back with a layup of their own just prior to the horn sounding. Augustana went into the break ahead 48-37.
Augustana’s lead hovered around the same margin over the opening five minutes of the second half until a cold-streak hit, allowing UAM to go on a 14-0 run and sneak a quick lead at 61-59 with 10:16 remaining in the game.
The Vikings captured the lead back on the ensuing possession, a 3-pointer from Cartwright, and never looked back the rest of the way en route to the victory.
Augustana shot nearly 42 percent for the game (28-of-67) and hit 12-of-30 shots from 3-point range. The Vikings got to the free-throw line 27 times, making 22 shots. Schaefer led the way at the line on 7-of-8 shots.
Defensively, the Vikings held Arkansas-Monticello to 24 percent shooting from deep while the Weevils shot 41.2 percent from the field.
Augustana plays host Central Missouri Sunday at 6 p.m. The Mules tangled with Southwest Minnesota State Saturday night following the Vikings’ victory.
I am proud of how we handled a little bit of adversity. I thought it was a great team win and our bench helped us a great deal. Obviously, Matt Cartwright with 27 [points] hit a bunch of key baskets for us along the way. It’s a quick turnaround, we’ve got to get our guys ready for Central Missouri. The Mules are much improved and have a bunch of transfers and have a new look.