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February 26, 2010

2009-10 Season - Valiant effort falls short in CCIW semi-final

Despite leading for the majority of the contest, Augustana fell 55-52 to Carthage in the semi-final of the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin men’s basketball tournament on Friday, February 26 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Vikings had the CCIW regular season champion Red Men on the ropes before Carthage All-American Steve Djurickovic took over late in the game.

Augustana forged a seven point advantage (31-24) at halftime and twice led by as many as nine points, with the last time coming with 15:07 to play when two free throws by Matt Pelton (Bloomington Central Catholic HS, Bloomington, Ill. – now resides in Houston, Texas) made it 39-30. With 5:15 to play Djurickovic scored on a jumper to give the home team the lead (46-45), its first since being ahead 9-7 in the early going. Over the final 5:15 Djurickovic scored all 11 of his team’s points with four of those coming from the free throw line. He also drilled a long three point field goal deep into the shot clock with 1:08 to play that gave his team a 53-48 lead.

Pelton put forth an outstanding effort in his final game in a Viking uniform as he scored 21 points on seven of 12 from the field, including three of eight from three point range. He was also good on four of four from the charity stripe, pulled down three rebounds, had two steals and one assist in 35 minutes of action. Junior Kyle Nelson (Deerfield HS, Deerfield, Ill.) scored 10 points and pulled in a game high nine rebounds.

Augustana played well defensively, holding Carthage to just .389 (21-54) shooting from the floor and only .133 (2-15) from three point range. Djurickovic led the Red Men in scoring with 22 points while teammate Tyler Pierce added 12. Carthage won the rebounding battle by a slim margin of 35-34.

Besides Nelson’s nine boards, freshman George Dexter (Bettendorf HS, Bettendorf, Iowa) added seven. Brian DeSimone (Buffalo Grove HS, Wheeling, Ill.) and Mike Avalone (Neuqua Valley HS, Naperville, Ill.) each had three assists.