Viking Men Edge Mavericks

Augie Defeats Mankato 83-81

No. 21 Augustana University men’s basketball (7-1, 3-0 NSIC) led by eight at 82-74 with 32 seconds remaining in the game and held off Minnesota State, Mankato (5-2, 1-1 NSIC) earning an 83-81 win over the Mavericks in front of 3,159 fans at the Sioux Falls Arena on Saturday night.

Augustana has now won 37 consecutive home games. The Vikings were led tonight by Adam Beyer who finished with 22 points and six rebounds. Beyer has scored 20-plus points in back-to-back games for the Vikings and picked up his fourth career 20-point performance.

Jordan Spencer finished with 20 points and eight assists for the Vikings. Zach Huisken had a big day for Augustana as well finishing with a season-high 12 points and a career-high nine rebounds.

Mike Busack finished with 11 points and five boards playing against his former team for the first time. Augustana finished the game shooting 51.7 percent (30 of 58) from the field. The Vikings were 6 of 16 from 3-point range for the game after hitting 4 of 8 from behind the arc in the first half. Augustana out-scored Minnesota State 36-26 in the paint.

Austin Aarias led Minnesota State with 18 points and seven assists. Aarias was 5 of 11 from 3-point range for the Mavericks. MSU shot 42.2 percent as a team and hit 13 of 31 3-pointers.

Augustana opened up an 8-0 lead just over two minutes into the game and after the Mavericks got on the board, Spencer answered with a 3-pointer to put the Vikings in front 11-2 with 16:16 remaining in the first half.

Things evened out over the next four minutes before the Mavericks were able to score eight straight, including getting a pair of 3-pointers from Aarias Austin that allowed Minnesota State to tie the game at 20 just past the midway point of the half.

The Mavericks took their first lead of the game when Charlie Brown converted a 3-point play but the Vikings got a big boost from their bench to regain the lead. Marcus Asmus scored six points in five minutes and after MSU took the lead, Austin Saugstad knocked down a big 3-pointer giving Augustana a 27-25 lead with just under six to go in the first.

Augustana then went on a 13-3 run in the final 4:56 of the first half to take a 40-31 lead into halftime. Spencer led the Vikings with 12 points in the first half to go along with four assists. Huisken added six points and six boards for the Vikings and Beyer scored seven points and grabbed four rebounds.

Augustana finished the half shooting 48.3 percent (14 of 29) from the field, including 4 of 8 from 3-point range. The Vikings were 8 of 8 from the free throw line in the half.

Minnesota State shot 35.5 percent (11 of 31) from the field, hitting 5 of 15 from behind the arc. Charlie Brown led MSU with eight first-half points.

Warren scored five straight to start the second half and the Vikings built a 14-point lead at 45-31. Minnesota State scored 12 of the game’s next 14 points to cut Augustana’s lead to six before Warren picked up his third bucket of the second half to push the lead back to eight at 51-43 with 14:41 remaining in the game.

The Vikings built a 10-point lead at 55-45 after a layup by Beyer but the Vikings were unable to build it any larger. Minnesota State went on a 12-4 run over the next four minutes to cut Augustana’s lead to just two at 59-57 with just under nine minutes left.

MSU’s Trey Samspon hit a 3-pointer to make it 63-62 with 7:44 remaining in the game but the Vikings were able to push the lead back up to seven at 69-62.

Augustana led by eight twice in the final three minutes of the game, including an 82-74 lead with 32 seconds left but the Mavericks were able continue to chip away. Sampson hit another 3-pointer with 24 seconds left to cut Augustana’s lead to four at 82-78 and the Vikings missed the front end of a 1-and-1 allowing MSU to get within one after a 3-pointer by Austin with four seconds left.

Busack hit one of two free throws with two seconds left to give Augustana an 83-81 lead and after his miss on the second, the ball went out of bounds with .3 seconds left and the Mavericks would get one last heave on the inbound pass. The pass sailed out of bounds and Augustana walked out of the Sioux Falls Arena with its 37th consecutive home win.

Augustana will hit the road next weekend for a pair of games against NSIC North Division foes. The Vikings will take on Minot State on Friday, Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. before squaring-off against U-Mary at 6 p.m. on Saturday in Bismarck, North Dakota.