MANKATO, Minn. – Behind 35 points from Jadan Graves, the Augustana men’s basketball team toppled No. 9 Minnesota State, 63-57, Friday night in Mankato, Minnesota. Graves’ 35 points are easily a season-high as he went 8-of-13 from 3-point land and 11-of-18 from the field.

The junior set the tone for what was to come as he sank a 3-point basket to open the game. He went back-to-back from deep as Augustana went from a 6-1 lead to an 11-1 advantage with nine of the 11 points coming from Graves’ hands.

Minnesota State, who was handed its first loss of the season and is now 9-1, tied the game at 11-all but that was the only tie as Ryan Miller sank a free throw to take the lead back. The home team did not hold a lead in the contest as Augustana pushed its lead to 13 points before halftime by ending the stanza on a 7-1 run with a 31-18 lead.

Augustana, 6-4 on the year and 2-2 in NSIC action, staved off every comeback attack from Minnesota State, rebuilding double-digit leads on seven occasions. As time was winding down and MSU making one last comeback attempt, Augustana’s defense held Minnesota State scoreless on three-straight shot attempts.

After Bennett Otto garnered a defensive rebound, he was fouled and was sent to the free-throw line where he swished both shots from the charity stripe to extend AU’s lead from three to five points at 62-57.

With seven seconds left, Sam Rensch ended any last, improbable, comeback attempt as he blocked the 3-point attempt of Trevor Moore to seal the victory.

Augustana, the best scoring defense in the NSIC, proved to out-tough the best scoring offense in the NSIC as Minnesota State entered the contest with an average of 90 points per game. Augustana’s defense held Minnesota State to 31.6 percent shooting as part of its season-low 57 points.

Graves’ eight 3-point makes matches the most made by a Viking since Jordan Spencer and John Warren both made eight in the 2017-18 season. Augustana remains on the road Saturday with a 5:30 p.m. contest at Concordia-St. Paul.