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Augustana Men Hold Off Upper Iowa



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FAYETTE, Iowa – Augustana held off a strong second half effort by Upper Iowa to earn a 71-64 victory on Saturday night in Fayette, Iowa. Augustana improves to 8-1 on the season, 4-1 in conference play while Upper Iowa drops to 6-3, 4-1 in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference action.

Upper Iowa took its first lead of the game, since the opening minutes, (54-53) with 6:25 to play in the game but the Vikings were able to keep it close and come away with the big road win. The Peacocks entered tonight's game unbeaten in conference play, having taken down ranked Minnesota State and Winona State earlier in the season.

McCaffery scored 14 of his 20 points on the night in the second half to lead the Vikings in scoring. The senior has now scored in double-digits in all nine games and has scored 20 or more points in a game 28 times in his career and six times this season.

Freshman Casey Schilling, making his second straight start, nearly missed a double-double finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds. The freshman was 4 of 6 from the field, including 2 of 2 from 3-point range for the Vikings. Daniel Jansen reached double-digits for the fifth time this season scoring 12 points on 5 of 9 shooting while hitting 1 of 4 free throws.

Yuriy Malashenko added eight points for the Vikings, shooting 3 of 7 from the field, knocking down two 3-pointers. Zach Huisken finished with seven points and seven boards on the night.

Grant Lang kept Upper Iowa in the mix all night long connecting on 5 of 7 shots from 3-point range finishing with 18 points. Tucker Wentzien added 16 points for the Peacocks going 7 of 16 from the field and adding seven rebounds.

Augustana turned the ball over 15 times in the game leading to 18 points for the Peacocks. Those points turned in to long runs twice for Upper Iowa turning Augustana's large first half lead into a game.

Augustana jumped out to an early lead in the first half going up by five points five minutes into the game on a layup by Zach Huisken. Over the next six minutes, Augustana went on a 15-3 run to take a commanding 24-7 lead with 9:32 left in the half.

During that stretch, Malashenko and Leif Nomeland hit back-to-back 3-pointers to fuel the Vikings' run. Nomeland finished the game with seven points.

Schilling hit a 3-pointer at the 8:44 mark to put the Vikings in front 27-10 and that sparked a big run by the home team. Upper Iowa went on an 8-0 run to make the score 27-18 with 6:30 to play in the half.

Schilling drilled his second 3-pointer of the half with 3:20 to play to push Augustana's lead back to 15 at 36-21. The Peacocks answered with another run and were able to cut Augustana's lead to nine at 38-29 as the two teams head into the locker room at halftime.

The Vikings shot 53 percent from the field in the half on 16 of 30 shooting, including 5 of 12 from 3-point range. Augustana held a 19-12 rebounds advantage, grabbing 13 defensive boards in the half. Upper Iowa shot 41 percent (11 of 27) from the field, including 3 of 9 from 3-point range. Upper Iowa hit all four free throw attempts in the half while Augustana was just 1 of 3 from the charity stripe.

Schilling led the Vikings in the first half scoring eight points on 3 of 4 shooting, including 2 of 2 from 3-point range. McCaffrey added six points while dishing out five assists in the first 20 minutes.

The Vikings opened the second half on a 7-2 run to extend its lead to 14 at 45-31. After a Upper Iowa basket McCaffrey drilled a 3-pointer to make the score 48-36 with 14:54 to play in the game, the Vikings turned the ball over on its next two possessions helping the Peacocks erase a 12-point Augustana lead.

Over the next six minutes Upper Iowa was able to cut Augustana's lead to two at 53-51 with 8:30 left in the game when Lang drilled a 3-pointer and free throw to convert the 4-point-play after an Augustana foul on the shot.

A few possessions later Augustana fouled Sam Elgin as he attempted a 3-point shot and he proceeded to knock down all three free throws to put Upper Iowa in front 54-53 with 6:25 left in the game.  Augustana and Upper Iowa would play to three tie scores over the next two minutes before Schilling put Augustana in front for good at 59-58 hitting one of two free throws with 3:25 to play.

The Vikings would not surrender the lead for the remainder of the game as McCaffrey would score seven points in the final 47 seconds of the game to give the Vikings a 71-64 road win over Upper Iowa.

Augustana returns home on Jan.4-5 hosting Minnesota State and Concordia-St. Paul.

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