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November 28, 2009

2009-10 Season - Pelton effort keys first road win

Senior Matt Pelton (Bloomington Central Catholic HS, Bloomington, Ill. – now resides in Houston, Texas) came to the rescue Saturday night and helped lift Augustana to a 79-72 non-conference victory over Anderson University. It was the first road game of the season for the Vikings after three straight home victories in the first week of the season.

Anderson was undefeated and coming off an impressive road win at Wisconsin-Platteville, a top 20 team in NCAA Division III, earlier in the week. Throw in the fact that Augustana would be playing without team captain, second leading rebounder and third leading scorer, junior Bryant Voiles (Byron HS, Byron, Ill.) and this victory is impressive. That is not even mentioning the five hour bus ride prior to the game.

Playing with three freshmen and three sophomores logging 128 of the 200 minutes, Pelton’s veteran leadership was especially valuable in this contest. He scored a career high 26 points, led the team in rebounding with six, had three assists and three steals. While his teammates could manage just four of 10 from the free throw line, Pelton calmly went to the charity stripe and knocked down eight of eight.

Anderson led early and with 13:40 left in the first half the Ravens took their biggest lead at 20-14 when Andrew Bowman tallied on a layup. From that point until intermission, Augustana went on a 23-11 run and built a 37-31 lead at halftime. Freshman George Dexter (Bettendorf HS, Bettendorf, Iowa) started the scoring spree with a layup at the 12:54 mark and ended it with a basket at the buzzer.

The Vikings built a nine point lead (51-42) with 14:15 left when Brian DeSimone (Buffalo Grove HS, Arlington Heights, Ill.) hit a jumper. Over the next seven minutes, however, the Ravens went on a 21-9 run and took a 62-61 lead on a layup by Bowman with 7:16 to play.

Kyle Nelson (Deerfield HS, Deerfield, Ill.) hit one of two free throws and Pelton drained a pair to put Augustana on top 65-62 with 6:23 left. Ty Riddle, who scored 18 points, tied the game for the last time with a long three point field goal with 6:06 to play.

With the game knotted at 65-65, sophomore Troy Rorer (Bettendorf HS, Bettendorf, Iowa) nailed a short jumper to put the Vikings ahead for good (67-65) with just under six minutes (5:59) to play. Rorer was fouled on the play but he missed the free throw. Freshman teammate Luke Scarlata (Morton HS, Berwyn, Ill.) collared the rebound and eventually Pelton ended the possession with a huge three point field goal that bumped the lead to 70-65.

Pelton would hit four straight free throws and then score on a layup with 4:02 to play to make it 76-65.  He scored nine consecutive points in the most crucial part of the game.

A pair of free throws by Anderson’s Phil Hogan at 3:45 cut the lead to nine (76-67) and Riddle drained a three to make it a six point game with 3:13 left.  The two teams traded misses on each of their next two possessions before DeSimone hit one of two free throws with 20 seconds to play to make it 77-70. Andrew Jones, who tied Pelton for the scoring lead with 26 points, scored on a layup with 12 seconds to go to make it 77-72 but Pelton calmly dropped in two free throws with :11 left to account for the final score.

While Pelton led the team in scoring with 26, Rorer contributed 14 points and Nelson added 13. The Vikings narrowly won the rebounding battle (34-32) and they shot .508 (30-59) from the floor, including a sizzling .609 (14-23) in the second half. DeSimone had six assists, four rebounds and nine points.

Jones scores 26 to lead the Ravens and he was 11 of 15 from the floor and hauled in six rebounds. Riddle had 18 points and Bowman was in double figures with 10.

Augustana will have just one day to recover from the long road trip before traveling to Galesburg, Illinois on Monday, November 30 for a game with Knox.