Augie gets No. 1 North Central on wrong night


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Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2013, 11:00 pm
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NAPERVILLE – Playing the No. 1 ranked team in the country is always going to be a tough task.

Catching that team coming off its first loss of the season, though, seemed to make the job that much more difficult here Saturday night for the Augustana College men's basketball team.

Taking on top-ranked North Central at Gregory Arena, the young Vikings didn't have nearly enough firepower to hang with the Cardinals, falling 59-46 in CCIW play.

Against the statistically-best defense in the league that had been allowing just 56.9 points per game, the Vikings had their lowest offensive production of the season. Augie came in 29 points under what had been the league-best offensive average.

"We really struggled to score,'' said Augie coach Grey Giovanine. "They play very good defense and I thought we were timid offensively. We had guys turning down shots and turning the ball over. We just didn't play with great toughness on offense.''

Coming off an upbeat 63-60 loss at Illinois Wesleyan on Wednesday, Giovanine made it a point for his kids to get the ball into the post after seeing a number of chances missed inside in Bloomington. That plan, though, backfired against a very strong Cardinal front line even with it missing starter Aaron Tiknis with a recent knee injury.

Getting thwarted in the lane over and over on Saturday, the Vikings could muster just 17 field goals, shooting 34.7 percent for the game with 32 misses against the Cardinals, who were upset Wednesday at Carthage.

"They were older, more mature, more experienced, more physical,'' said Giovanine of the difference between his team that included four true freshmen and two sophomores against the seasoned pre-season pick of league coaches to win their third straight league crown.

The game got off to a late – and very slow start. North Central led 4-0 before Augie tied it at the 15:32 mark. The Cardinals (14-1, 3-1 CCIW) then took a lead they never lost the rest of the way as 6-foot-6 junior Landon Gamble muscled his way to 22 points and eight rebounds.

Dan Jurgutis led the Vikings (12-3, 2-2) with 13 points, but was just 4-for-12 from the field. Brandon Kunz added eight points and hauled down nine rebounds that helped Augie to a 37-29 board edge that was of little consolation.

"You can talk about it, you can practice, but until you go on the road and play the No. 1 team in the nation on their home court, you can't quite appreciate how physical and tough it's going to be,'' said Giovanine.

While back at home on Wednesday, the path doesn't get much easier for the Vikings as they entertain No. 20 Wheaton (12-3, 2-2 CCIW). The veteran coach is hoping that these last two road games pay some dividends soon.

"I told our guys that this week will not define our season. What will define our season is how we move forward from here,'' said Giovanine. "I want our team to bounce back and how we respond from a tough road trip will be the key to how things go the rest of the season. Things get no less difficult Wednesday with Wheaton coming in.''





BASKETBALL
QC college men
North Central 59, Augustana 46
AUGUSTANA (12-3, 2-2 CCIW)
Johnson 2-6 2-2 1 4 6, Ryan 2-8 0-0 2 5 4, Kunz 4-7 0-0 5 9 8, Thompson 0-3 3-4 2 1 3,  Jurgutis 4-12 4-4 3 2 13, Roth 0-5 0-0 0 0 0, Pils 1-2 0-0 0 1 2, Straughter 0-2 0-0 1 4 0, Hoepfner 1-1 2-2 1 5 4, Dexter 3-3 0-0 4 2 6. Team rebounds 4. Totals 17-49 11-12 19 37 46.
NORTH CENTRAL (14-1, 3-1 CCIW)
Kmiec 1-6 0-0 2 5 2, Rosenberg 3-6 0-3 4 4 6, Gamble 6-9 10-12 3 8 22, Williams 3-10 3-4 1 2 9, Raridon 1-5 3-6 3 1 6, Burchett 4-6 0-0 2 6 8, Rourke 2-5 0-0 1 1 6, Merrithey 0-1 0-0 0 0 0. Team rebounds 2. Totals 20-48 16-25 16 29 59.
Halftime: NCC  30-23. 3s: Augie 1-9 (Jurgutis 1-3, Thompson 0-1, Straughter 0-1, Roth 0-4); NCC 3-10 (Rourke 2-4, Raridon 1-3, Merrithey 0-1, Kmiec 0-2). Assists: Augie 7 (Thompson 2); NCC 10 (Raridon 4). Turnovers: Augie 15, NCC 7. Blocks: Augie 3 (Kunz 2, Jurgutis); NCC 3 (Raridon, Rosenberg, Gamble). Steals: Augie 4 (Thompson, Johnson, Jurgutis, Kunz); NCC 10 (Kmiec 3, Rosenberg 3).












 



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