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January 9, 2010

2009-10 Season - Defense and rebounding key win at Elmhurst

A suffocating defense, especially in the first half, and a decided edge in rebounding, were the keys as Augustana rolled to a 64-50 win at Elmhurst on Saturday, January 9. The Vikings moved to 2-0 in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin with the crucial road victory.

In the first 20 minutes of the game Augustana put the clamps on the Bluejays defensively, allowing just 18 points en route to a 28-18 halftime lead. Elmhurst was able to make just six of 24 (.250) shots from the field, including no three point field goals in seven attempts. The crowning point in the first half came when senior guard Matt Pelton (Bloomington Central Catholic HS, Bloomington, Ill. – Houston, Texas) buried a three pointer at the buzzer.

Pelton was tremendous throughout the entire game, leading the Vikings in scoring with 16 points. He hit seven of 10 field goals from the floor and was one of one from the free throw line. He added four assists, four rebounds and one steal in 32 minutes of action.

Freshman Kameron Norton (Downers Grove North HS, Downers Grove, Ill.) hit two free throws in the first 15 seconds of the game to give Augustana a 2-0 lead. Pelton nailed a layup at 18:45 to make it 4-0 and the Vikings never trailed. The lead was just four points (22-18) late in the first half when a pair of three point field goals pushed the Augustana lead to 10 at intermission. With just 1:00 showing on the clock Chris Anderson (West Carroll HS, Mt. Carroll, Ill.) buried a three pointer to make it 25-18 and then Pelton dropped one in at the buzzer to make it a 10 point cushion.

In the second half, Elmhurst was able to get the lead into single digits just once and that was at 32-24 on a jumper from Mike McCurdy with 15:26 remaining in the game. Immediately after that, however, the Vikings scored the next six points to bump the lead up to 15 (39-24) with 12:47 left. Brian DeSimone (Buffalo Grove HS, Arlington Heights, Ill.) hit a three pointer to make it 35-24 at 14:40 and Pelton scored a layup at 14:02 to push the lead to 37-24. DeSimone’s basket at 12:47 made it 39-24 with 12:47 remaining in the contest. From that point on the lead fluctuated between 11 and 18 until the final 14 point margin.

Pelton’s 16 points led the way for Augustana and he was joined in double figures by DeSimone, with 11 points. The Vikings pounded the Bluejays on the boards, enjoying a 38-25 advantage with Kyle Nelson (Deerfield HS, Deerfield, Ill.) leading the way with seven. Freshman Brandon Kunz (Lake Zurich HS, Lake Zurich, Ill.) helped out with six caroms.

After shooting .417 (10-24) in the first half, the Vikings shot .542 (13-24) from the floor in the second half.
Dustin Bainter led Elmhurst in scoring with 11 points while Zack Boyd chipped in with 10.

Augustana is now 9-4 overall along with being 2-0 in the league. Elmhurst falls to 5-8 and 0-2. The Vikings will travel to Wheaton, Illinois on Wednesday, January 13 to take on the Wheaton Thunder. Wheaton is the defending CCIW champion and was the pre-season favorite to win the 2009-10 league title.