Front line carries Vikings past Oshkosh

Posted Online: Nov. 29, 2012, 11:05 pm
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By Tom Johnston, tjohnston@qconline.com
Most basketball attacks start from the inside and work out.

For the Augustana Vikings on Tuesday night, it started from the inside and stayed right there against an out-manned bunch from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Augie's main front-liners of junior Kevin Schlitter, senior Brandon Kunz and freshman Ben Ryan combined for 41 points and 31 rebounds in the Vikings' 67-63 nonconference victory over the Titans at the Carver Center.

Kunz led the Vikings with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Schlitter came off the bench to add 13 points and grab seven rebounds and Ryan was solid again, turning a gritty effort into 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Sophomore guard Brandon Thompson added 15 points, including eight of 10 free throws in the final 6:30.

"That's where we had the advantage,'' Augie coach Grey Giovanine said of his big boys down low. "We had a bigger, stronger front line and the statistics bore that out.''

Even with the great play inside that accounted for a whopping 47-22 rebounding edge, the Vikings needed to battle down to the final seconds to pull out their fifth win in as many starts.

That was because the rag-tag Titans kept themselves in the game with 11 triples. In fact, Oshkosh shot better from 3-point land (11 of 25, 44 percent) than it did from the field (22 of 51, 43.1 percent).

"Augustana does a great job and always has with the post play,'' said first-year UW-Oshkosh coach Pat Juckem, who formerly coached at Coe. "We lacked the physicality and the bodies to match up with that. But I'm real proud of our guys and how hard our kids played. If we rebound the basketball, I think we win this game.''

Juckem took over the UW-O program this summer and had just five players. He said he recruited three players from the rec league, picked up a tennis player and tried to fill out his roster any way he could.

The Titans (1-3) were hurt further by foul trouble to Andre Wallace, their one legitimate post presence, who played just 14 minutes before fouling out with two points and one rebound.

Augie was working hard in the paint to stay ahead, but as soon as the hosts worked to an advantage, the Titans drilled triples to claw right back into the game. It went that way for most of the contest, keeping it close.

The Vikings led 59-52 with two minutes left in the game before UW-O's Dylan Wurtz (11 points) hit a triple and Jade Royston (20 points) added two free throws to make it 59-58 with 61 seconds left.

Out of a timeout, though, Augie sophomore guard Dan Jurgutis scored on a drive and was fouled by Cory Nickel (15 points, all on 3s). Jurgutis finished off the three-point play for a 62-58 lead and the Vikes never trailed after that as Thompson hit four free throws and Jurgutis one of two to seal the victory.

Appropriately, Augie locked up the game after Jurgutis's three-point play with a great defensive trip. Pressuring the Titans' guards out to 30-feet, three Vikings got their hands on the ball, stripping Royston as he tried to get into the lane.

"We played poorly, dominated the boards and found a way to win,'' said Giovanine, whose club was just 1-for-14 from the 3-point line and 38.9 percent from the field for the game. "Good teams compete and find a way to win when it's not going good. We didn't have the effort and energy we typically would like, but just dominated the glass.''

QC college men
Augustana 67, UW-Oshkosh 63
Wurtz 4-7 0-0 3 1 11, Wallace 1-4 0-0 5 1 2, Wise 1-7 2-2 3 5 4, Nickel 5-12 0-0 3 6 15, Royston 6-10 6-7 3 3 20, Volkman 3-5 0-0 2 0 6, Hutchinson 0-0 0-0 1 0 0, Olson 1-3 0-0 2 2 3, Mageland 0-0 0-1 1 3 0, Hopfensperger 0-1 0-0 0 0 0, Sidesky 1-2 0-0 1 0 2. Team rebounds 1. Totals 22-51 8-10 24 22 63.
Johnson 0-3 2-4 1 3 2, Ryan 6-12 0-0 3 13 12, Kunz 6-9 4-5 2 11 16, Thompson 3-7 8-10 2 3 15, Jurgutis 1-6 5-7 1 2 7, Roth 0-5 0-1 0 3 0, Pils 0-3 0-0 0 2 0, Schlitter 5-7 3-4 2 7 13, Hill 0-2 2-2 2 1 2. Team rebounds 2. Totals 21-54 24-33 13 47 67.
Halftime: OW-O 30, Augustana 29. 3s: UW-O 11-25 (Nickel 5-12, Wurtz 3-4, Royston 2-4, Olson 1-3, Wise 0-1, Sidesky 0-1); Augie 1-14 (Thompson 1-2, Hill 0-2, Pils 0-2, Jurgutis 0-3, Roth 0-5). Assists: UW-O 7 (Royston 2); Augie 8 (Jurgutis 2). Turnovers: UW-O 12, Augie 13. Blocks: UW-O 1 (Royston). Steals: UW-O 9 (Wise 4, Volkman 2); Augie 6 (Thompson 2, Ryan 2). Technical: Augie 1 (Johnson).


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