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SMSU Erases 16-point Second Half Deficit To Down Augustana

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SIOUX FALLS, SD — Southwest Minnesota State overcame a 16-point second half deficit to defeat Augustana 77-75 on Saturday night at the Elmen Center. The Vikings (12-8, 9-5 NSIC) had two chances to take a lead in the final seconds, but Nick Smith’s layup with 20 seconds left secured the win for the Mustangs (13-7, 10-5 NSIC).

After Smith’s basket, Augustana’s Daniel Jansen missed a layup with nine seconds left in the game forcing the Vikings to foul. SMSU’s William Giddings hit one of two free throws to make it a two-point game at 77-75 with five seconds left. Augustana ran the floor but was unable to get a shot attempt off, falling to SMSU for the second time this season.

SMSU defeated Augustana 85-84 on Dec. 6 in Marshall, Minn. in a very similar scenario. Vinard Birch scored with 10 seconds left to give his team a one-point victory over Augustana. Tonight’s win marks SMSU’s first in Sioux Falls since Dec. 11, 2004.

The Vikings led by 16 points with 12:31 remaining in the game before SMSU cut it to a six-point game at 67-61 just six minutes later.

Augustana freshman guard Ethan Guske had a big night finishing with a career-high 18 points, knocking down a career-high five 3-pointers. Casey Schilling added 17 points, seven rebounds and a career-high seven assists for the Vikings. Daniel Jansen added 17 points on 6 of 13 shooting.

SMSU’s Matt Zager had a game-high 20 points on 6 of 9 shooting, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range and 4 of 4 from the free throw line. Vinard Birch finished with 17 points and seven assists for the Mustangs while Nick Smith and Shaun Condon each added 14 points.

SMSU finished the game shooting 54.7 percent (29 of 53) from the field, including 5 of 10 from 3-point range. Zager hit four of SMSU’s five 3-pointers, all coming in the second half.

Augustana shot 43 percent (23 of 53) from the field, hitting 7 of 20 from 3-point range. SMSU out-rebounded the Vikings 33-27, grabbing 26 defensive rebounds.

Both teams played even through the first five minutes of the game, trading baskets as Augustana held on to a 10-8 lead with just under six minutes gone in the half. SMSU tied it at 10 on a layup by Bartlett and eventually took a 15-13 lead on a 3-pointer by Joey Bartlett with 12:15 to go in the half.

Matthew Brazendale knotted things and gave the Vikings a 17-15 hitting four free throws on consecutive possessions but the Mustangs answered by scoring seven of the game’s next eight points to take a 22-18 lead.

Augustana never let the lead get larger than four and ended the first half on a 13-3 run over the final 3:54 to take a 38-29 lead at the half. The Vikings hit three straight 3-pointers, including two in a row by Guske, to spark Augustana to take its largest lead of the night at nine points heading into the break.

The Vikings shot 48 percent from the field in the first half, knocking down 4 of 9 from 3-point range. Augustana shot 17 free throws in the half, making 10 (58 percent) while SMSU was just 2 of 4 from the line.

Jansen led the Vikings with nine points in the first half, followed by Schilling and Guske who each had eight. Both teams controlled the ball well in the first half as Augustana had just two turnovers and SMSUS had four. The Vikings scored nine points off of turnovers in the half.

Augustana started off fast in the second half going on a 6-2 run in the first 25 seconds after Schilling converted a 3-point-play after getting a steal and going the distance for the basket and drawing the foul. On the next possession, Guske hit his third 3-pointer of the game from the left wing to put the Vikings in front 44-31.

The Vikings extended the run to 15-8 through the first five minutes of the second half to build their largest lead of the night at 53-37 after Devin Gilligan ran the floor for a fastbreak bucket finishing with a spin move in the paint.

Following Gilligan’s basket, Southwest Minnesota State went on a 14-7 run over the next four minutes to cut Augustana’s lead to nine at 60-51. Zager hit two 3-pointers during that stretch for SMSU.

The Vikings built their lead back up to 12 after Guske drilled his fifth 3-pointer of the night but Zager answered with two more in the next minute and a half to make it a six-point game at 67-61. SMSU completed the comeback and took a 74-73 lead on a basket by Birch and held on for the two-point victory.

Augustana returns to action next weekend traveling to Minnesota-Duluth and St. Cloud State. The Vikings will take on the Bulldogs at 8 p.m. on Friday night before taking on the Huskies at 6 p.m. on Saturday in St. Cloud, Minn.

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Courtesy:  Augustana College

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