Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2013, 10:41 pm

Vikings bounce back to end losing streak

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By Tom Johnston, tjohnston@qconline.com

With an extra bounce in their step that showed up in a dominating defensive performance, the Augustana College men's basketball team was impressive in snapping a three-game losing skid with an 84-41 victory over Elmhurst Saturday night at Carver Center.

One game after getting blown out by Wheaton by 19 points on the same floor and two days of reassessing their situation in challenging practices, the Vikings were all smiles after allowing the fewest points to a foe all season.

The Vikings (13-4, 3-3 CCIW) basically stymied the Bluejays (4-13, 0-6 CCIW) on offense, allowing them to shoot just 26 percent from the field (13-of-50) and forced them into 20 turnovers.

"We really played with tremendous energy really throughout the game,'' said Augie coach Grey Giovanine, whose club committed just nine turnovers.

Augie's defensive dominance started right from the opening tip with its first different group of starters of the season. Giovanine inserted freshman Jawan Straughter at one guard spot and Bettendorf senior George Dexter at forward, along with regulars Dan Jurgutis, Ben Ryan and Brandon Kunz.

Giovanine hopes his team has been grounded again after getting off to a 12-1 start before a tough stretch of league games.

"We really challenged them,'' said Giovanine. "I think we got a little full of ourselves at 12-1. I think when you get beat, you tend to tune in a little better and get a little more humble. That's what they were the last couple of days (in practice). I thought it was a really good effort tonight.''

Augie's defense was so smothering that the Bluejays struggled through some horrendous offensive streaks. They only had one field goal in the first six-plus minutes of the game. Already with a 33-20 halftime edge, the Vikings held EC without a field goal for the first 5:09 of the second half. The Bluejays didn't get their second bucket until the 10:11 mark when former Geneseo prep Erik Dornfeld (seven points, two rebounds) found the range. By that time, it was already 63-29.

"I knew that coming off those losses, Augie was going to respond at home,'' said EC coach Mark Scherer. "We knew that and were prepared for it. But we have a young club and we have to learn how to be competitive on the road in the CCIW. ... We couldn't match their energy or physicalness.''

That effort came from the entire Viking lineup, too. Augie had 14 of its 15 players score and the scoreless reserve grabbed a rebound. Kunz recorded a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds (just one off his season high). Ryan led the Vikings with 14 points and former United Township prep Nic Hoepfner added 10 off the bench.

Junior Nick Sanford led the Bluejays with eight points and 11 rebounds.





BASKETBALL
QC college men
Augustana 84, Elmhurst 41
ELMHURST (4-13, 0-6 CCIW)
Ackerman 1-6 2-2 1 2 4, Sanford 2-7 4-8 4 11 8, Dornfeld 3-5 1-2 2 2 7, Foster 1-6 0-0 2 0 2, Baxter 1-7 2-2 2 5 4, Payonk 0-0 0-0 2 0 0, Morgunov 2-7 1-5 3 3 5, Leonard 2-5 1-2 1 0 1, Jugovic 0-0 0-0 3 1 0, Glass 0-3 1-2 1 0 1, Jerkovich 0-1 0-0 0 1 0, Thurston 1-2 0-0 0 1 2, DeBack 0-1 1-2 1 0 1. Team rebounds 7. Totals 13-50 13-25 24 36 41.
AUGUSTANA (13-4, 3-3 CCIW)
Ryan 5-10 3-3 4 5 14, Dexter 1-1 0-0 2 2 2, Kunz 3-7 4-5 1 13 10, Straughter 2-4 0-0 1 1 4, Jurgutis 2-8 3-3 0 1 7, Roth 3-8 0-0 1 1 8, Thompson 0-2 2-2 2 1 2, Pils 3-4 0-0 0 2 8, Hoepfner 4-5 2-3 2 1 10, Johnson 2-7 2-2 4 5 6, Motzel 0-1 0-0 1 1 0, Dziagwa 0-0 1-2 1 1 1, Hill 1-1 0-0 0 1 2, Norcia 1-1 2-2 0 0 5, Gylten 1-2 2-2 0 1 5. Team rebounds 6. Totals 28-61 21-24 19 42 84.
Halftime: Augie 33-20. 3s: EC 2-17 (Leonard 2-4,  Glass 0-1, Morgunov 0-1, Jerkovich 0-1, Foster 0-3, Ackerman 0-3, Baxter 0-4);  Augie 7-18 (Pils 2-3, Roth 2-7, Ryan 1-1, Norcia 1-1, Gylten 1-2, Thompson 0-1, Jurgutis 0-3).  Assists: EC 2 (Foster 1, Sanford); Augie 16 (Thompson 5, Roth 4).
Turnovers: EC 20, Augie 9. Blocks: EC 3 (Morgunov 2, Jugovic); Augie 4 (Kunz 2, Motzel 2). Steals: EC 3 (Foster, Baxter, Thurston); Augie 7 (Thompson 3).