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December 12, 2009

2009-10 Season - 15th ranked Vikings fall to number one Bears

Three nights after falling to Gonzaga, a top 20 team in NCAA Division I, Augustana lost its second road game in a row. The 15th ranked Vikings fell to number one rated Washington by a score of 71-53 in St. Louis on Saturday, December 12. The Bears, two time defending national champion, shot the ball extremely well, especially in the first half.

Grey Giovanine’s Vikings got behind early in this one, trailing by 10 points (15-5) with the game barely six minutes old (13:53). A basket by Matt Pelton (Bloomington Central Catholic HS, Bloomington, Ill. – now resides in Houston, Texas) kick-started a 12-1 run that was punctuated by Pelton’s basket with 7:38 left in the first stanza. Pelton’s basket, which came off an assist by Mike Avallone (Neuqua Valley HS, Naperville, Ill.), gave Augustana its first lead of the night (17-16).

Baskets by Sean Wallis (7:25) and Spencer Gray (7:00) gave Washington a 20-17 lead but Avallone tied things at 20-20 with a three point basket at the 6:47 mark. Troy Rorer’s (Bettendorf HS, Bettendorf, Iowa) bucket at 6:25 put the Vikings back on top 22-20 with 6:25 to play. Augustana would lead once more and that came when Kyle Nelson (Deerfield HS, Deerfield, Ill.) sand a pair of free throws with 3:58 left before intermission.  From there, however, Washington closed out the half on a 10-2 run to take a 35-28 advantage into the locker room.

During the first half the Bears shot a sizzling .583 (14-24) from the field and although they cooled off somewhat (.483 on 14-29) in the second 20 minutes, the Vikings really never threatened.  With 16:01 left in the game Alex Toth nailed a jumper to put Washington on top 43-31. From that point on Augustana could not get the lead into single digits. Eventually the advantage would grow as big as 23 (62-39 with 7:27 remaining).

Nelson led the Vikings in scoring with 19 points as he connected on eight of 12 from the floor and he hauled in a game high nine rebounds. He shot eight of 12 from the floor, was three of four from the free throw line, had three assists and one blocked shot in 27 minutes of action. The next highest scoring Augustana player was Pelton with nine points.

Although Augustana managed a 30-30 tie in the rebounding department, the Vikings shot just .411 (23-56) from the field and were just three of 12 from three point range. The Vikings were also hampered by 16 turnovers.

Aaron Thompson was unstoppable for Washington, hitting nine of 10 shots from the floor, including four of four from three point range and he was perfect on all four of his free throws. He added three assists, had two steals and one blocked shot. Wallis scored 10 points and dished off nine assists with one steal.

Augustana, which won a school record five games in the month of November, now falls to 5-2 overall and will host the University of Chicago on Wednesday, December 16 in the Carver Center. Washington moves to 7-0 overall.