SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KWSN) – Saturday’s highly anticipated matchup between crosstown rivals ended with a disappointing result for USF, as the visiting Augustana College Vikings mastered the finer points of college hoops to beat the Cougars, 96-77, in front of a mixed crowd of 1,451 at the Stewart Center.
Augustana (5-4, 2-1 NSIC) only trailed twice, led by as many as 14 points in the first half and enjoyed a 20-point lead in the second. The Vikings shot 55 percent (61 from three), with 12 assists on a combined 39 field goals.
Though Mack Johnson responded to the Vikings’ torrid shooting with a career-high 21 points (including five three-pointers), the Cougars (5-2, 2-1) couldn’t stop the Vikings’ three-headed mast of Casey Schilling (22 points), Matt Brazendale (20) and Daniel Jensen (19), who made the necessary plays down the stretch.
Sioux Falls shot 44 percent (30.8 from deep) and like Augustana had multiple double-digit scoring, with reserve Mahlon Jones’ career-best 19 to go along with Johnson’s big night. Augustana wasn’t always there defensively either, but the Vikings had more weapons to win the shootout, while also outrebounding the Cougars by seven (39-32).
The Cougars led after Derek Brown’s opening three-pointer, but the Vikings responded with a 23-6 run to take a 23-9 lead at the game’s first media timeout. USF quickly cut the deficit to 23-17 with a Bryan Kielpinski jumper sandwiched between treys by Brown and Johnson. Another Kielpinski paint bucket at the 10:11 mark would give USF its last lead of the night 26-25. The advantage disappeared less than a minute later and Johnson called timeout immediately after the Cougars allowed a wide open three-pointer that gave Augustana its largest lead of the half at 51-41 with under two to play.
Jones showed off his athleticism and netted four straight points with a fadeaway and acrobatic layup in traffic that trimmed the Vikings’ lead to 51-45 at the half.
Everything went right for Augustana, which had just six turnovers and made 65-plus percent of its shots in the first half, including a stellar 7-for-10 from beyond the arc.
Six different Vikings scored from the outside, making seven of ten 3-pointers, and Casey Schilling had his way on the inside as part of a balanced offense that saw seven Augie players in the scoring column.
The Cougars fought back to get into the game, led by Jones, who scored their first 10 points of the second half, but the same problems for Coach Johnson’s program in the first half stayed with them until the final buzzer. USF couldn’t get enough stops — whether it was man-to-man or zone — to mount a comeback.
Augustana notched the first five points of the second half, while the Cougars went scoreless for the first two-plus minutes before Jones laid one in from close range. He scored eight more in a row to get the Cougars within five at 58-53, but the Vikings countered with a pair of 5-0 runs and USF never got within 10 points in the game’s final 10 minutes.
Brown and Kielpinski each finished with eight points, while Charles Ward had seven.
USF recorded 13 turnovers and turned 14 Viking miscues into 20 points. The Cougar bench outscored the Vikings reserves 56-20, while Augustana posted a 4-1 advantage in blocks.
The Cougars open up a three-game road trip next Friday night at Winona State.
Courtesy: University of Sioux Falls