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February 2, 2013

Red-hot Vikings outlast Carthage

Freshman Griffin Pils had 10 points, four assists, two rebounds and two steals as Augustana defeated Carthage 83-74 at Carver Center Saturday night. Pils was one of five Vikings in double figures as the team improved to 16-5 on the season and 6-4 in the CCIW.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. - Augustana shot .600 from the field, .571 from three-point range and .864 from the foul line Saturday night and fought off a Carthage team that was equally hot in the second half, defeating the Red Men 83-74 at Carver Center. The Vikings improve to 16-5 on the year and 6-4 in the league and take a one game lead over the Red Men (10-11, 5-5) in the conference standings.

The visitors jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, but Augustana responded with a 6-0 run and the contest settled into a see-saw affair for the first 10 minutes. A Mark Roth (Washington HS, Washington, Ill.) three-pointer with 9:44 left gave the Vikings a 17-14 advantage and they would lead the rest of the way. Roth's trey started a 21-7 Augustana run. Back-to-back baskets by senior George Dexter (Bettendorf HS, Bettendorf, Iowa) finished off the spree, putting the hosts ahead 35-21. Carthage outscored the Vikings 6-1, all from the free throw line, over the final 2:02 to cut the deficit to 36-27 at the half.  

After shooting just .273 (6 of 22) from the field in the opening stanza, Carthage came out on fire in the second half and whittled away at the Augustana lead. Tyler Pierce hit the first of two foul shots to get the Red Men within 44-42 at the 14:42 mark. A minute later, he scored from the field to cut the lead to one at 46-45.  

Freshman Ben Ryan (Washington HS, Washington, Ill.) answered with back-to-back buckets, but Reese Herth connected on a three-pointer to again cut the lead to a single basket, 50-48 with 12:28 left. Mitch Thompson had a chance to tie it on Carthage's next possession, but Brandon Kunz (Lake Zurich HS, Lake Zurich, Ill.) came up with a huge block of his layup to keep the Vikings ahead. Kunz scored at the other end and Brandon Thompson (Galesburg HS, Galesburg, Ill.) and Roth followed with three-pointers to push the advantage back to double digits at 58-48 with 10:30 left.  

The lead would eventually reach 16 before the Red Men put on one final push, getting as close as 80-74 with 1:28 left. A Jawan Straughter (Plainfield East HS, Bolingbrook, Ill.) field goal and a Kunz put-back closed things out.  

Augustana had excellent balance, with five players reaching double figures. Ryan led the way with 15 to go along with a game-high five steals. Kunz scored 14 and snared a game-high eight rebounds. Roth scored a dozen, hitting all three of his three-point attempts, and freshmen Griffin Pils (Libertyville HS, Libertyville, Ill.) and Tayvian Johnson (United Township HS, East Moline, Ill.) added 10 each. Pils also had a game-high four assists and converted all six of his free throw attempts.  

Thompson and Herth led Carthage, which shot .577 from the floor in the second half, with 20 and 16 points, respectively.  

The Vikings travel to Wheaton on Wednesday, February 6 to face the Thunder in a 7:30 p.m. contest. The teams are currently tied for third in the CCIW at 6-4.