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February 10, 2010

2009-10 Season - Vikings lose nine-point lead and fall to Wheaton

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – Despite leading by nine points with eight minutes to play, the Augustana Vikings were unable to finish off the visiting Wheaton Thunder Wednesday night at Carver Center. The Thunder outscored the Vikings 16-4 in the final eight minutes to claim a 56-53 win. The teams are now tied for third place in the CCIW at 7-4. Wheaton moves to 15-7 overall while Augustana falls to 14-8.

Wheaton hit seven of its first 11 shots from the field to take a 17-10 with 10:34 left in the first half. However, the Vikings limited the Thunder to just one field goal in their final 11 attempts of the half and took their first lead of the night, 23-22, on a Chris Anderson (West Carroll HS, Mt. Carroll, Ill.) three-pointer with 3:16 to go in the half. That was part of a 12-0 Viking run that resulted in a 29-22 lead at intermission. After a cold shooting start, Augustana finished the first half by hitting six of its last nine from the field.

Augustana held Wheaton to just .364 shooting from the field in the first half and limited Tim McCrary, who came in averaging 19.8 points per game, to just a single field goal in the opening 20 minutes. Anderson and Kyle Nelson (Deerfield HS, Deerfield, Ill.) each had eight points at the half to lead Augustana.

The Thunder whittled away at the Augustana lead early in the second half and cut it to one point on three occasions. McCrary’s bucket with 11:06 left made the score 41-40, but the Vikings went on an 8-0 run, fueled by two Anderson field goals, to seemingly regain control with a 49-40 lead and eight minutes to play.

However, the only points the Vikings would get in the next six minutes came on a basket by Nelson and meanwhile Wheaton was getting a three-pointer from John Shackleford, a bucket by Ben Panner and a pair of three’s from Andrew Jahns, the second of which regained the lead for Wheaton at 52-51 with 2:49 remaining.

Another Anderson bucket a minute later gave the Vikings their final lead at 53-52, but a McCrary jumper and two Panner free throws with 22 seconds left put Wheaton back in front 56-53. The Vikings could only manage a desperation three-point attempt from Nelson on their final possession.

Anderson led the Vikings with 15 points off the bench and Nelson added 14 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Panner led Wheaton in scoring with 17 while Jahns added 11 and McCrary 10.

The Vikings come back on Saturday night, February 13, hosting Millikin in a 7:30 p.m. contest.