Young Vikings hold on for opening victory


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Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2012, 11:14 pm
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AURORA — The Augustana College men's basketball team got just about everything it could have wanted in a season opener here Thursday night — including a harrowing 85-82 victory.

The Vikings, playing six freshmen and four sophomores and without two of their tested veterans, watched a 21-point, second-half lead dwindle in the final 15 minutes. However, late free throws from sophomore Brandon Thompson and freshman Hunter Hill gave the visitors a three-point lead just before a desperation half-court shot banged off the rim after the buzzer.

"Eight of our 11 guys played their first college varsity minutes, and we hung on for a great win," said Augie coach Grey Giovanine. "I couldn't be prouder or more pleased with the outcome in our opener."

Making the victory even more improbable was that the Vikings were without two of their veteran front-liners. Senior George Dexter was out with a chronic back issue that flared up two days ago. Junior Kevin Schlitter has been hampered by a sprained ankle that occurred in last week's final scrimmage.

In their place, freshmen Tayvian Johnson, Ben Ryan, Jake Gylten and Brandon Motzel got plenty of court time along with sophomore transfer Nic Hoepfner. Johnson and Hoepfner are former United Township standouts. Giovanine said that he was watching Thursday's junior varsity game closely to get an idea of who was playing well and might fill some varsity minutes.

"These guys had never played a varsity game, and we're playing a team that's supposed to win their league; they are good," said Giovanine, who started Johnson (four points and five rebounds before fouling out) and Ryan (13 points in 22 minutes) and played Hill (five points) 11 minutes.

There was reason to think that Augie could be good, too.Especially if grizzled sophomore point guard Dan Jurgutis can repeat the effort he had in the opener. Jurgutis popped for a team-high 29 points, dished out three assists and grabbed four rebounds in 31 minutes before fouling out.

Also stepping up was senior front-liner Brandon Kunz, who finished 10 points and 14 rebounds.

"Dan was unbelievable." said Giovanine. "He had 29 points and just carried us when we needed him. I hope he doesn't have to give us that much every night because I don't think he can. That's a 30-point performance on the road, against a team that could be in the NCAA Tournament."


















 




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  Today is Sunday, Aug. 31, the 243rd day of 2014. There are 122 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The Chicago and Rock Island Railroad will carry all who wish to attend the Chicago convention for half fare — that is, full fare to Chicago and return free.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Hardy Hetter, for several years yardmaster in the Burlington Railroad yards in Rock Island and Moline, was transferred to Beardstown. He was succeeded here by J.E. Albrecht.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Corn was estimated at 50 percent of the normal crop in Rock Island County by Crop Correspondent Thomas Campbell.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Robert Carroll, 12-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Farr Carroll, of near Aledo, won the grand championship of the Mercer County baby beef show with "Fat Stuff."
1964 -- 50 years ago: About 250 persons attended the first in a series of horse shows at the Hillandale Stables off Knoxville Road near Milan on Saturday afternoon and evening.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Ground was broken this morning for the $4.5 million Rock Valley Business Park near Rock Valley Plaza, Rock Island. The first building is 17,000 square feet for offices and a warehouse and should be completed by Dec. 1.




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