January 20, 2010
2009-10 Season - Fast finish overcomes slow start in win at Millikin
After losing two straight games in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin, Augustana head coach Grey Giovanine was hoping that his team would get off to a fast start in Wednesday’s game against Millikin. Falling behind 8-2 and missing six of their first seven shots was not exactly what the Vikings wanted but the finish was exactly what they needed as Augustana defeated Millikin 63-48 in the Griswold Center in Decatur, Illinois.
The game was five minutes old and the Vikings trailed 8-2 and the only shot among the first seven that found the nets was a jumper by Brian DeSimone (Buffalo Grove HS, Wheeling, Ill.). However, a basket by Matt Pelton (Bloomington Central Catholic HS, Bloomington, Ill. – now resides in Houston, Texas), a three pointer by Mike Avallone (Neuqua Valley HS, Naperville, Ill.) and a free throw from Troy Rorer (Bettendorf HS, Bettendorf, Iowa) tied the game at 8-8 at the 12:23 mark and allowed Augustana to catch its collective breath.
Millikin led 22-21 with 5:00 left in the first half when Avallone buried a three pointer to make it 24-22. That gave Augustana a lead that it would never relinquish. The Vikings closed the half on an 8-2 run and took a 29-24 advantage into the locker room at intermission.
In the second half the score was 33-32 in favor of Augustana with 14:26 left in the game when the Vikings went on a 17-2 run over the next six minutes. When Avallone drilled his third three point field goal of the contest at the 8:06 mark the lead had ballooned to 50-34. It would drop into single digits only once more and that came with 5:25 to play when Sedric Ferguson hit a pair of free throws to make the score 52-43. Pelton answered with a three point field goal at 4:30 and came back with a basket at 3:58 to make it 57-43 and the visitors were never threatened after that.
Augustana played stifling defense in the second half, holding Millikin to just .280 (7-25) from the field and limited the Big Blue to a .353 (18-51) shooting percentage for the game. The Vikings allowed just one three point field goal in 10 attempts.
Pelton led the winners in scoring with 17 points while Rorer was also in double figures with 10. Avallone and freshman Brandon Kunz (Lake Zurich HS, Lake Zurich, Ill.) each added nine points apiece. The Vikings held a 36-30 advantage in rebounding with Kyle Nelson (Deerfield HS, Deerfield, Ill.) leading the way with nine and Rorer pulling down eight. Pelton and Nelson each had four assists.
Ferguson was the lone Millikin player to finish in double figures with 13 points.
Augustana is now 10-6 overall and 3-2 in the CCIW while Millikin falls to 6-10 and 1-4. The Vikings will play at North Central on Saturday, January 23 at 7:30 p.m.