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February 3, 2010

2009-10 Season - Rebounding and hot shooting propel Vikings

Junior Kyle Nelson (Deerfield HS, Deerfield, Ill.) scored 10 points and pulled down a game high 16 rebounds to help lead Augustana to a crucial road victory in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin on Wednesday, February 3 in Chicago, Illinois. The Vikings used a sizzling first half shooting performance from the floor and a huge rebounding advantage in a 68-63 victory over North Park.

Nelson was a monster on the glass, as he pulled down four offensive and 12 defensive rebounds to help pave the way to a 41-26 advantage in that department. He was five of 10 from the floor and had one steal in 31 minutes of play.
North Park led by as many as six points (28-22 at the 7:02 mark) in the first half but Augustana was in the process of shooting .600 (15-25) from the floor in the first stanza. That helped translate to a 34-33 advantage at halftime.

In the second half the Vikings cooled off a bit (11 of 27 for .407) but still managed to shot .500 (26-52) from the field for the game. North Park led twice in the second half and the game was tied three times, the last at 43-43 with 15:58 to play. Over the next six-plus minutes the visitors went on a 13-1 run and when Brandon Kunz (Lake Zurich HS, Lake Zurich, Ill.) scored on a layup with 9:49 remaining, the lead was 56-44.

During that run, which was started by a layup from Kameron Norton (Downers Grove North HS, Downers Grove, Ill.), six different Vikings scored baskets. North Park missed seven shots in that time frame and Nelson hauled in four rebounds.

With less than two minutes to play Augustana’s lead was 10 points (65-55) but North Park mounted a furious comeback. Shaun Collins hit a free throw at 1:42 to make it a nine point game (65-56) and then he stole the ball and made a layup to trim things to seven (65-58). Roshawn Russell’s three point basket at 1:03 cut the margin to four (65-61). Troy Rorer (Bettendorf HS, Bettendorf, Iowa) converted on one of two free throws for Augustana at :50 to make it 66-61. A basket by North Park’s Davone Robinson with :38 left made it a three point game (66-63). However, Brian DeSimone (Buffalo Grove HS, Wheeling, Ill.) stepped up and buried a pair of free throws at :25 to give Augustana its final five point margin at 68-63.

The Augustana defense did a number on North Park’s two leading scorers, holding Nick Williams and Russell to a total of 15 points on a combined four of 21 from the floor, including just two of nine from three point range.
Matt Pelton (Bloomington Central Catholic HS, Bloomington, Ill. – now resides in Houston, Texas) and Kunz tied for the Augustana scoring lead with 12 points apiece. Rorer added 11 and Nelson had 10. Kunz also grabbed seven rebounds and Norton pulled down five.

Two other key factors in this victory were the facts that Augustana only committed 10 turnovers on the night and only sent North Park to the free throw line 12 times.

Augustana is now 13-7 overall and 6-3 in the CCIW while North Park fell to 10-10 and 4-5. Augustana will head to league leading Carthage on Saturday, February 6 in Kenosha, Wisconsin for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.