Vikings remain perfect: Augustana starts fast and never looks back

Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2012, 11:00 pm
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By Tom Johnston,
A nearly perfect first 20 minutes carried the Augustana College men's basketball team Tuesday night as the Vikings rolled to a 69-57 victory over UW-Platteville.

The Vikings did seemingly everything correctly in the first half en route to a 39-23 lead and control of the game between unbeatens at the Carver Center.

"They came out and punched us in the mouth,'' said UW-Platteville coach Jeff Gard. "They got after it. We knew what was coming.''

Regular scrimmage partners in the past six years, the two teams were very familiar with each other and each side knew it was going to be tough coming in as the Vikings were 3-0 heading into their home opener against the 5-0 Pioneers.

"It was a great first half,'' said Augie coach Grey Giovanine. "The guys embraced the game plan, held them to 23 points and we're up 16 at the half. It's awfully hard to come back from that. It was as good a first half defensively as we have played.''

The Vikings were pretty good on the offensive end in that first half, too. Getting out and running as much as possible, Augie was 16-of-28 (57 percent) from the field in the first 20 minutes and had built a 19-11 rebounding edge that finished 37-34.

"In the first half, they had three offensive rebounds,'' said Giovanine, with a sense of pleasure that came from the hard work and tenacity at the defensive end that stymied a team averaging 85 points per game.

Also making it tough on the Pioneers was junior center Kevin Schlitter. Showing smooth moves and strength inside, the former Maine South prep powered his way to 11 first-half points.

"I'm sure Grey is hoping that is his coming-out party,'' said Gard, praising the young Vikings. "All those guys really came out and played. If they continue to bring that energy and aggressiveness night-in and night-out, they are going to have a good squad.''

Schlitter, who had battled an ankle injury and missed the first two games, was 7-of-12 from the field as he finished with a game-high 19 points and grabbed five rebounds in 20 minutes.

"He is going to be a handful for people,'' said Giovanine.

The night, though, wasn't without its struggles for the young Vikings in the second half. Not being as fluid with a slower pace, the hosts struggled out of the gate early before building a 51-30 lead on Brandon Kunz's bucket at the 10:34 mark.

From there, though, Augie had just one more field goal, that on Brandon Thompson's old-fashioned three-point play with 2:55 left. In that last 10 minutes, Augie was 16-of-21 from the free-throw line to hold off the Pioneers who never got the margin under 10 points.

For a team with just one senior and one junior playing right now, the Vikings have shown a lot of potential in the first four games. And Giovanine hopes that they keep learning on the fly. There are plenty of lessons left to learn, too.

"So far, the one thing this team hasn't done great is play great with the lead,'' said Giovanine. "And that's hard to do. That's a learning process, but I love that we're getting these lessons.''

Augie finished with four players in double-digit scoring. Joining Schlitter atop the Viking scoring charts were freshman Ben Ryan with 12, Thompson with 11 and Dan Jurgutis with 10.

Jake Manning led the Pioneers with 13 and Chas Cross added 10 as the Pioneer starters were held to 34 points.

QC college men
Augustana 69, UW-Platteville 57
Stocki 0-3 0-0 0 2 0, Manning 5-12 3-6 4 6 13, Cross 3-8 4-4 4 6 10, Gerber 3-5 2-2 2 3 9,  Stallion 1-2 0-0 2 1 2, Vaassen 3-6 0-0 2 3 3, Wittwer 3-7 1-2 4 4 9, Reinke 0-7 0-0 5 1 0, Nemitz 1-4 0-0 2 3 3, Lewis 1-1 3-3 1 1 5, Jackson 0-0 0-0 1 0 0. Team rebounds 3. Totals 20-55 13-17 27 34 57.
Johnson 0-4 0-0 2 3 0, Ryan 5-12 2-2 4 7 12, Kunz 2-3 3-4 2 6 7, Thompson 3-5 5-5 3 5 11, Jurgutis 3-9 4-6 0 2 10, Schlitter 7-12 5-7 3 5 19, Roth 1-6 0-0 0 0 3, Pils 1-2 4-6 2 3 7, Hill 0-1 0-0 2 1 0, Hoepfner 0-0 0-0 0 3 0, Motzel 0-0 0-0 0 0 0. Team rebounds 2. Totals 22-54 23-30 18 37 69.
Halftime: Augustana 39-23.  3s: UW-P 4-15 (Wittwer 2-5, Gerber 1-1, Nemitz 1-3, Cross 0-1, Vaassen 0-1, Stocki 0-2, Reinke 0-2(; Augie 2-9 (Pils 1-2, Roth 1-5, Thompson 0-1, Jurgutis 0-1). Assists: UW-P 6 (Gerber 2, Wittwer 2); Augie 6 (Thompson 2, Jurgutis 2). Turnovers: UW-P 16, Augie 12. Blocks: UW-P 3 (Cross 2, Lewis); Augie 4 (Johnson 3, Schlitter). Steals: UW-P 8 (Cross 2, Nemitz 2); Augie 9 (Kunz 2, Roth 2).


Local events heading

  Today is Thursday, Oct. 2, the 275th day of 2014. There are 90 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The ladies have adopted the fashion of wearing representations of insects in the flowers on their bonnets. Some look very natural.
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1914 -- 100 years ago: Work on the new telephone building on 18th Street between 6th and 7th avenues is progressing rapidly.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Rock Island's new theater at 3rd Avenue and 19th Street will have a name significant of its location. The "Rocket" is scheduled to open Thanksgiving Day.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Two of Rock Island's newest water towers were vandalized last night, including the one at 38th Street and 31st Avenue, where police took five Moline boys into custody about 9 p.m..
1989 -- 25 years ago: Some of us who live in the Quad-Cities take the Mississippi River for granted, or at least we used to. But the river is not taken for granted by our visitors. And most Quad-Citians are realizing the importance of the river to this area as increased emphasis is placed on tourism.

(More History)