SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Augustana fought off a late surge by Minot State University for a 72-70 win over the Beavers on Saturday night in Sioux Falls. The Vikings (12-4, 8-4 NSIC) led by 10 with 8:01 to play only to see Minot State (6-10, 5-7 NSIC) cut the Vikings lead to two at 63-61 with two minutes to play.
During that stretch, Augustana missed three free throws while in the bonus allowing Minot State to get back into the game. With 1:20 to play, Minot State's Adam Randall hit two free throws to cut Augustana's lead to 64-63.
Alex Richter hit two free throws for the Vikings to push the lead back to three but Josh Johnson answered with a quick score to bring Minot State back to within one at 66-65.
Cameron McCaffrey and Zach Huisken each hit two free throws to bring the Vikings lead up to five at 70-65 with 16 seconds left before Dominique McDonald scored in the paint to cut it to three at 70-67.
McCaffrey was fouled again and hit two free throws to push the lead to 72-67 and McDonald nailed a 3-pointer with three seconds left but the Vikings were able to hang on for the win.
McCaffrey moved into eight on the all-time scoring list at Augustana in the win. McCaffrey surpassed Bill Gross who scored 1,628 career points from 1969-73. McCaffrey now sits alone at eighth all-time with 1,637 career points. The senior finished the game with 15 points. Jansen added a season-high 15 points for Augustana while Joe Burt matched his season-high with 14 points.
Alex Richter finished the game matching his career-high with eight rebounds, including four offensive boards, while scoring six points. Huisken and Yuriy Malashenko also reached double-digits for the Vikings as each finished with 10 points. Malashenko was 2 of 5 from 3-point range and added seven rebounds on the night.
Augustana shot 36 percent (21 of 57) from the field, including 8 of 24 from 3-point range. The Vikings nailed six shots from behind the arc in the first half alone.
McDonald led Minot State offensively with 15 points on 5 of 12 shooting. Josh Johnson scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds while Randall and East both added 11 points. The Beavers shot 44 percent (26 of 59) from the field, including 6 of 17 from 3-point range. Heading into tonight's game, Minot State had won three straight conference games on the road.
Augustana started off the game 0 for 5 from the field allowing Minot State to take an early 4-0 lead. Jansen and Burt scored on consecutive possessions to give the Vikings its first lead of the game, 5-4, on a Burt 3-pointer with 16:23 to play in the first half.
After two tie scores, Malashenko put the Vikings in front 13-10 hitting his second triple of the game. The basket gave the Vikings the momentum heading into a 13-5 run that gave the Vikings a 26-15 lead. During the run, Burt, Huisken and Richter each hit 3-pointers, giving the Vikings six through 15-plus minutes.
Each team scored five points in the final 4:18 of the half and the Vikings took a 31-20 halftime lead.
Augustana finished the first half 6 of 15 from 3-point range while shooting 37 percent (12 of 32) from the field. Malashenko led the Vikings in the half with eight points, hitting two 3-pointers.
Augustana turned the ball over just once in the first half, while Minot State had eight turnovers. The Beavers shot 27 percent (8 of 29) from the field, including just 2 of 10 from 3-point range.
Augustana and Minot State traded baskets over the first four and a half minutes of the first half as the Vikings maintained an 11-point lead at 39-28 with 15:46 to play.
Over the next three minutes Minot State went on a 10-5 run to cut Augustana's lead to six at 44-38 with 12:26 remaining in the game. Augustana answered with a 13-9 run over the next three and a half minutes to push its lead back up to 10 at 57-47.
Minot State cut the lead to six at 59-53 on a layup by East but Huisken pushed the Vikings' lead back to eight (61-53) hitting back-to-back free throws with 5:24 remaining in the game. Augustana missed shots on its next two possessions and Minot State cut the lead to five at 61-56 when Josh Johnson hit one of two free throws.
Johnson continued to help the Beavers cut into Augustana's lead as he hit two free throws and a 3-pointer to cut it to two at 63-61 with 2:20 to play.
The Vikings had two chances to build on its lead but Jansen and Huisken both missed one of two shots from the free throw line with the Vikings in the bonus. Adam Randall brought Minot State within one at 64-63 with 1:20 left in the game, knocking down two free throws.
After a few scares Augustana was able to hang on for the 72-70 win in the first meeting with Minot State as conference opponents.
Augustana will hit the road next weekend, taking Concordia-St. Paul on Friday, Jan. 25 at 8 p.m. in St. Paul, Minn. before squaring-off with Minnesota State University at 6 p.m. on Saturday.