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February 19, 2013

Vikings move to 18-7 with win over Millikin

Freshman guard Jawan Straughter led Augustana with four assists and four steals Tuesday night and grabbed four rebounds for good measure, as the Vikings defeated Millikin 64-51 at Carver Center.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. - Augustana used a stout defensive effort Tuesday to close out the regular season with a 64-51 win over Millikin at Carver Center. With the victory, the Vikings improve to 18-7 overall and lock up sole possession of fourth place in the CCIW at 8-6. They will face Illinois Wesleyan in the semifinals of the conference tournament Friday in Bloomington, Illinois. Millikin finishes the year 8-17 overall and 4-10 in the league.

The Big Blue led for the first ten minutes of the contest, but two Ben Ryan (Washington HS, Washington, Ill.) free throws at the 9:41 mark of the first half gave the hosts a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Augustana struggled with its first-half shooting, but made up for it by coming up with 10 steals, many of which were converted into transition baskets, including a pair of Ryan dunks.  

A Tayvian Johnson (Untied Township HS, East Moline, Ill.) bucket with 1:56 left gave the Vikings their biggest lead of the opening stanza at 27-19. They took a 30-23 margin to the locker room.  

Danielius Jurgutis (Downers Grove South HS, Darien, Ill.) scored the first basket of the second half to extend the Augustana lead to nine, but two free throws and a three-pointer from Millikin's Trent Windemuller got the Big Blue within 32-28 with 17 minutes remaining. The Vikings ran off eight straight, however to go up by 12.  

The visitors cut it to 45-38, but that's a s close as they would the rest of the way. A steal and layup by Griffin Pils (Libertyville HS, Libertyville, Ill.) gave Augustana its biggest lead of the night at 64-49 with 1:07 left. Two free throws by Millikin's lone senior, Rodney Clark, accounted for the final score.  

Ryan led the Vikings with a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds. Jurgutis also scored a dozen and sophomore Nic Hoepfner (Untied Township HS, East Moline, Ill.) came off the bench to score 10. Johnson and Pils added eight each. Freshman guard Jawan Straughter (Plainfield East HS, Bolingbrook, Ill.) scored just three points, but led the Vikings with four steals and four assists and grabbed four rebounds as well.  

Augustana finished the night 21 of 53 from the floor for a .396 percentage, but held Millikin to just 16 of 49 for a .327 mark. The Vikings forced two dozen Big Blue turnovers, 14 of which were the result of Augustana steals. Millikin became just the second team this season to outrebound the Vikings, holding a 41 to 38 advantage on the boards.  

Augustana opens CCIW tournament play Friday, February 22 with a 7:00 p.m. contest against regular season champion  and host Illinois Wesleyan (21-4 overall and 13-1 in the CCIW). The Titans are currently ranked third in the nation. The winner of that contest will face the winner of the 5:00 p.m. semifinal, which pits fifth-ranked and second seed North Central (22-3, 11-3) against 20th-ranked and third-seeded Wheaton (20-5, 10-4). The championship will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 23, also in Bloomington, Illinois.