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November 30, 2009

2009-10 Season - 5-0 start after win at Knox is first since 2005-06

A huge rebounding advantage and some stingy defense, especially in the second half, helped propel Augustana to a 73-56 victory at Knox on Monday, November 30. It was the second consecutive road victory for the Vikings, who remain perfect on the season at 5-0.

Veteran head coach Grey Giovanine’s charges outrebounded the Prairie Fire 48-30 with junior Kyle Nelson (Deerfield HS, Deerfield, Ill.) leading the way with a career high 12. The Vikings put the clamps down defensively, holding Knox to just .355 (22-62) shooting percentage, including a paltry .316 (12-38) in the second half.

Augustana never trailed in this one, jumping out to a 10-0 lead before the game was five minutes old with four different players collecting baskets. Knox had no answer in the first half as the Vikings shot .500 (16-32) from the floor and took a 39-25 lead into the locker room at intermission.

In the second half the Augustana lead was 12 (44-32) after a three point field goal by Chris Anderson (West Carroll HS, Mt. Carroll, Ill.) with 17:10 left in the game. It was at this point that Knox made its only serious run in the game, outscoring the Vikings 9-3 over the next six minutes. Two free throws by Ian Horvath allowed the Prairie Fire to close the gap to six points (47-41) with 11:14 to play.

Senior Matt Pelton (Bloomington Central Catholic HS, Bloomington, Ill. – now resides in Houston, Texas) answered with a basket at 10:19 to push the margin back to 10 points (51-41). Augustana would not allow the lead to drop into single digits again as the Vikings outscored their hosts 20-9 over the next seven minutes. Anderson’s two free throws at 3:30 made it 71-50.

For the second game in a row Pelton led the team in scoring, this time with 20 points as he connected on seven of 12 from the floor, including four of six from three point range, and two of two from the free throw line. The only other Augustana player in double figures was sophomore Troy Rorer (Bettendorf HS, Bettendorf, Iowa) with 10 points. Rorer was credited with six assists, two steals and four rebounds while going four of four from the free throw line.

Besides the 12 rebounds gathered in by Nelson, freshmen Kameron Norton (Downers Grove North HS, Downers Grove, Ill.) and George Dexter (Bettendorf HS, Bettendorf, Iowa) each had six boards.

Horvath led Knox in scoring with 11 points and Ben Wetherbee had 10.

Augustana, which will play at Gonzaga on Wednesday, December 9, is 5-0 for the first time since the 2005-06 season. Knox falls to 0-3 on the year.