Northwest Missouri State Ends Augustana’s Championship Reign
Vikings Fall In Central Region Semifinals 74-53
MARYVILLE, Mo. – No. 5 seed Augustana University men’s basketball (24-9) saw its season come to an end in a 74-53 loss to No. 1 seed (31-1) and top-ranked Northwest Missouri State in the NCAA Central Region Tournament semifinals on Sunday night.
Augustana made its 14th NCAA Tournament appearance in 2016-17, including its third straight trip. The Vikings made their third straight appearance in the region semifinal game.
Seniors Austin Saugstad, Mike Busack, Adam Beyer, Danny Butherus and Zach Huisken played their final games in a Viking uniform tonight.
Augustana shot 37.5 percent from the field on the night and was out-rebounded 38-26, including 13-1 on the offensive glass. Mike Busack and Jordan Spencer led the Vikings with 14 points each. Busack added nine rebounds and Spencer added three assists.
Adadm Beyer scored 12 points on 5 of 10 shooting while grabbing four rebounds and dishing out one assist. The Vikings were 6 of 13 from 3-point range in the game, including 1 of 4 in the second half.
Justin Pitts led Northwest Missouri State with 16 points while Zach Schneider added 15 for the Bearcats. Northwest Missouri State finished the night shooting 45.2 percent (28 of 62) from the field, including 8 of 27 from 3-point range.
The Vikings started out the night 2 of 7 from the field, but hit a pair of 3-pointers to keep things tight as the Bearcats gained an early 8-6 lead. Northwest Missouri State put the pressure on the Vikings going on a 14-2 run over the next five minutes to push its lead to 14 at 22-8.
Steven Schaefer stopped the run with a 3-pointer and the Vikings were able to get within 10 before the Bearcats pushed it back up to 14 at 29-15 after a 3-pointer from Zach Schneider. Busack hit a pair of 3-pointers down the stretch, to give him three in the half to get the Vikings within seven at 29-22 with 5:49 remaining in the half.
Northwest Missouri State hit a 3-pointer before the buzzer to take a 40-27 lead at halftime. The Bearcats shot 50 percent (17 of 34) from the field and owned a 20-12 rebounding advantage at the break. NWMSU scored nine second-chance points and six points off of five Augustana turnovers.
The Vikings finished the half shooting 39.1 percent (9 of 23) from the field, but were 5 of 9 from 3-point range, getting three from Busack, who led Augustana with 11 first-half points and six rebounds. Beyer added six points on 3 of 7 shooting in the half.
The Vikings turned the ball over on their first three possessions of the second half allowing the Bearcats to extend their lead to 18 at 45-27. Augustana responded with seven straight points, including five from Spencer, to cut the lead to 11 at 45-34 with 16:16 to play.
Northwest Missouri State went on a 9-1 run over the next four minutes to extend its lead to 19 at 54-35. The Vikings battled back with Beyer taking over to grab six of the team’s next 10 points to cut the lead to 14 at 59-45 with 6:15 to play.
The Vikings continued to chip away, getting within 13 with 4:26 to play but the hole was too big to get out of and the Bearcats pushed their lead back up to 19 with just under three minutes to play.
Augustana is now 17-16 all-time in NCAA Tournament play after making the program’s 14th appearance in the tournament. The Vikings finished 24-9 overall on the season, including 16-6 in NSIC play, which was good for a fourth-place finish.