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December 9, 2009

2009-10 Season - Vikings nearly outrebound Gonzaga in loss

Stepping up in class in a big way, Augustana suffered its first loss of the 2009-10 season by a score of 79-40 at Gonzaga. The Bulldogs are ranked in the top 20 in every NCAA Division I poll there is and they certainly showed their strength against veteran head coach Grey Giovanine’s charges.

In the early going the game was close and Augustana actually scored the first basket of the game when Chris Anderson (West Carroll HS, Mt. Carroll, Ill.) hit a jumper in the paint with just over 30 seconds gone in the contest. Trailing 20-7 with 8:53 left before intermission, the Vikings got baskets by freshman Luke Scarlata (Morton HS, Berwyn, Ill.) at 8:24 and junior Kyle Nelson (Deerfield HS, Deerfield, Ill.) at 7:59 to make it 20-11. However, Gonzaga closed out the first half on a 20-3 run and took a 40-14 advantage into the locker-room at halftime.

In the second half the Vikings were outscored 39-26 to account for the final 39 point deficit. Offensively, it was a struggle against the bigger and more physical hosts and that was evidenced by the final shooting statistics. Augustana hit just .270 (17-63) from the field, including a .048 (1-21) performance from three point range. No Viking was able to dent the double figure mark as Nelson and senior Matt Pelton (Bloomington Central Catholic HS, Bloomington, Ill. – now resides in Houston, Texas) both had eight points to lead the team.

Gonzaga got 12 points from Stephen Gray had 12 points to lead the way and G.J. Vilarino and Bol Kong each scored 10. The Bulldogs shot .509 (29-57) from the floor, including a sizzling .565 (13-23) in the first half. During the second 20 minutes the Vikings defenders held the hosts to .471 (16-34) from the floor.

Despite the size and strength of Gonzaga, the Vikings actually held their own in the rebounding department. They only trailed in that statistic by a margin of 45-41 with sophomore Troy Rorer (Bettendorf HS, Bettendorf, Iowa) leading the way with nine. Freshman Kameron Norton (Downers Grove North HS, Downers Grove, Ill.) pulled down five.

Sophomore point guard Brian DeSimone (Buffalo Grove HS, Wheeling, Ill.) had three steals with Rorer and Nelson collecting two each. Senior Terrence Green (King HS, Chicago, Ill.) had a pair of blocked shots.

Augustana, which is currently ranked 15th in NCAA Division III, falls to 5-1 on the season while Gonzaga moves to 7-2.

The Vikings will have a tough test this weekend with a trip to St. Louis on tap for Saturday, December 12. Augustana will square off against Washington at 7:30 p.m. The Bears are the two time defending NCAA Division III national champions and currently ranked first in the D3hoops.com poll.