Augie falls to defending champ in CCIW tourney title-game


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Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2013, 10:50 pm
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By Tom Johnston, tjohnston@qconline.com
BLOOMINGTON – The Augustana College men's basketball team had been three-for-three in title-game appearances at the CCIW Men's Basketball Tournament.

That run ended here Saturday night in the event's eighth year of existence.

North Central, with just too many weapons offensively, made the plays when it need to and pulled out a 70-63 victory to defend its tourney title at Illinois Wesleyan's Shirk Center.

The second-seeded and nationally fifth-ranked Cardinals (24-3) beat the Vikings for the third time this season and earned the league's automatic qualifier berth into the upcoming NCAA Div. III National Tournament.

The loss likely ended the young Vikings' improbable run to a spot in the national tourney with a 19-8 record.An Augie at-large bid is doubtful with regular-season champ Illinois Wesleyan (third) and Wheaton (20th) ranked and likely to earn spots that will be announced by the NCAA on Monday around noon.

"We'll see; Wesleyan last year got in with 19 wins,'' Augie coach Grey Giovanine said of a possible at-large bid.

The Vikings needed a victory Saturday night to secure its post-season fate, but that just wasn't to be in a rough-and-tumble affair that featured 40 fouls and 47 free throws with little flow.

The biggest difference, though, was NCC being able to create scoring opportunities for itself and the Vikings having to grind to get a look. And when the Vikings did get the ball toward the hoop, it was tough getting it in as they shot 21-of-51 (41.2 percent) from the field and just 4-of-18 from 3-point range over a lanky and trapping Cardinals defense.

"We really battled and really competed,'' said Giovanine. "But it's tough when you shoot 4-of-18 on 3s.''

Making it event tougher was major congestion in the paint that forced the Vikings outside.

Sophomore Nic Hoepfner – a United Township product playing 26 minutes with foul trouble to Augie's bigs – led the Vikings with 18 points as he also grabbed six boards.

Griffin Pils added 11 points and Hunter Hill 10 as all three came off the bench with solid contributions.

Augie's starters totaled just 22 points with senior Brandon Kunz scoring eight and grabbing 11 rebounds, though Augie was out-rebounded 33-29.

Conversely, the Cardinals were able to get the ball to their offensive weapons and convert with starters scoring all but 18 points and the usual suspects coming through. Derek Raridon led NCC with a game-high 23 points, Jack Burchett added 11 and Landon Gamble 10.

NCC tried to help the Vikings by making just 15-of-27 free throws, but Raridon came through with the daggers seemingly every time Augie would make a run.

"We're still not sure who the go-to guy is for us yet,'' mused Giovanine. "Theirs is No. 34 (Raridon). We knew that, they knew that, and he still made plays.''

Raridon's biggest plays came late in the game when Augie had managed to still be hanging around, within 53-50 with 7:15 left after Hoepfner had scored six straight.

Raridon hit two jumpers and Burchett a bucket in the paint for a 59-50 lead. Augie never could get it to a one-possession game after that.

"In the first half, we were tentative and on our heels,'' Augie senior George Dexter said after his last game, finishing with two points and two rebounds. "We weren't really attacking on defense. We played well the last 20 minutes, but we needed a 40-minute effort.''




BASKETBALL
QC college men
CCIW Tournament
North Central 70, Augustana 63
AUGUSTANA (19-8)
Johnson 3-6 0-0 1 2 6, Ryan 2-5 2-4 5 4 6, Kunz 1-2 6-6 4 11 8, Straughter 0-5 0-0 2 0 0, Jurgutis 1-8 0-0 1 1 2, Roth 0-1 0-0 0 0 0, Pils 4-9 0-0 0 1 11, Dexter 1-3 0-0 2 2 2, Hoepfner 7-8 4-4 3 6 18, Hill 2-4 5-6 4 1 10. Totals 21-51 17-20 22 29 63.

NORTH CENTRAL (24-3)
Burchett 5-8 1-5 4 11 11, Raridon 8-11 4-4 0 2 23, Gamble 4-8 2-3 4 1 10, Rourke 0-1 0-0 1 0 0, Kmiec 2-7 2-4 0 5 8, Merrithey 3-7 3-5 3 2 9, Rosenberg2-4 1-2 5 1 5, Tiknis 1-4 2-4 1 7 4, Williams 0-0 0-0 0 0 0. Totals 25-50 15-27 18 33 70.

Halftime: NCC 34-24. 3s: Augie 4-18 (Pils 3-7, Hill 1-2, Roth 0-1, Straughter 0-4, Jurgutis 0-4); NCC 5-13 (Raridon 3-3, Kmiec 2-5, Rourke 0-1, Merrithey 0-1, Tiknis 0-3). Assists: Augie 7 (Kunz 2); NCC 12 (Burchett 3, Tiknis 3). Turnovers: Augie 10, NCC 7. Blocks: Augie 3 (Johnson, Straughter, Jurgutis); NCC 2 (Burchett 2). Steals: Augie 3 (Straughter 2); NCC 3 (Raridon 2).












 




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