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January 2, 2010

2009-10 Season - Nelson's 27 points not enough

Despite a career high 27 points from junior Kyle Nelson (Deerfield HS, Deerfield, Ill.), Augustana couldn’t overcome a poor shooting night in the final non-conference game of the 2009-10 season. The Vikings, ranked 20th in NCAA Division III according to D3hoops.com, dropped a 76-66 decision to Buena Vista in Storm Lake, Iowa.

Nelson scored 27 points on nine of 18 from the field, including one three pointer, and an eight of nine performance at the free throw line. He also pulled down six rebounds and had an assist in 28 minutes of work. However, as a team, the Vikings shot just .393 (22 of 56) from the floor and if you take Nelson’s numbers out of the mix, Augustana turned in a .342 (13 of 38) field goal percentage.

Early in the contest the Vikings led by six points (10-4) after a layup by Troy Rorer (Bettendorf HS, Bettendorf, Iowa) with less than three minutes (17:27) gone in the game.  From that point, however, Buena Vista went on a 10-0 run to take a 14-10 lead with 13:49 to play in the first half when Steve Gute drained a jumper. The Beavers onslaught continued and with 2:34 before intermission a three point basket by Nathan Parker stretched the lead to nine (30-21). Augustana scored the final four points of the half on a pair of free throws by Nelson with :57 left and a basket at the buzzer by freshman Brandon Kunz (Lake Zurich HS, Lake Zurich, Ill.).

That made the score 30-25 at halftime and Nelson’s basket in the first minute of the second half trimmed the margin to 30-27 at 19:07. Buena Vista eventually built up a nine point lead with 7:04 left when Michael Elming drained a pair of free throws to make it 54-45.

Thanks to Nelson’s scoring prowess, the Vikings were able to cut the advantage to two points (56-54) with 4:29 left. Nelson hit a basket  to trim the Beaver lead to that margin but that was as close as Augustana would get. Jeff Janssen hit four straight free throws over the next 1:03 to bump the lead back up to six (60-54).

Buena Vista was deadly from the free throw line on the night, connecting on 26 of 30 from the charity stripe. The Beavers scored their last 20 points from the free throw line with the last field goal coming at 5:46 when Nathan Parker hit a jumper.

Another factor in this game was the fact that Buena Vista was able to come away with a 33-33 standoff in the rebounding department against a Viking squad that routinely outrebounds its opponent.

Parker led the Beavers with 18 points and Troy Ticknor had 14.

Nelson was the only Augustana player in double figures. Freshman Kameron Norton (Downers Grove North HS, Downers Grove, Ill.) had nine points and a team high seven rebounds while Brian DeSimone (Buffalo Grove HS, Arlington Heights, Ill.) scored eight points and had four assists.

The Vikings are now 7-4 on the season and will open the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin campaign on Wednesday, January 6 at home against North Park at 7:30 p.m. in the Carver Center.