For the second time in as many days, the Augustana men's basketball team used a strong first half as a springboard to victory on Sunday, November 24 at the Pioneer Classic in Platteville, Wisconsin. Less than 24 hours earlier the Vikings bolted out of the gate and ran away from St. Olaf in the first half. This time around the victim was Simpson and Augustana raced to a 39-13 halftime lead before eventually claiming an 87-54 victory.
The Vikings, now 3-1 on the season, couldn't do much wrong in the first 20 minutes and the Storm struggled to get anything going. Augustana shot .556 (15-27) from the floor in the first half and held Simpson to just .240 (6-25) from the field at the same time.
Veteran head coach Grey Giovanine's team jumped out to leads of 6-0; 15-3 and 22-7 in the early going. It was clearly a total team effort as seven different players scored as the Vikings raced out to 15-3 lead at 11:47. It wasn't until sophomore Hunter Hill (Byron HS, Byron, Ill.) tallied at 9:49 to make it 17-5 that Augustana had its first player with more than one basket.
The first half carnage didn't stop until intermission when the Vikings led 39-13 and held a huge 25-10 lead in rebounding. Only one Simpson starter (Austin Hennings with six points) was able to score in the first half. The other four Storm starters were a combined 0-7 from the field and 0-5 from three point range.
The lead continued to grow in the second half, hitting the 30-point plateau when Danielius Jurgutis (Downers Grove South HS, Darien, Ill.) nailed a basket with 13:36 left to make it 55-24.
Augustana put four players in double figures with Jurgutis leading the way with a 21 point performance. He hit nine of 10 from the field, two of two from three point range and had two assists, two rebounds and a steal. Sophomore Ben Ryan (Washington HS, Washington, Ill.) and junior Kevin Schlitter (Maine South HS, Park Ridge, Ill.) each had 11 points and Hill dropped in 10 while adding a game-high four assists. Sophomore Tayvian Johnson (United Township HS, East Moline, Ill.) scored nine. Junior Mark Roth (Washington HS, Metamora, Ill.) also scored nine points and those came in just 13 minutes of action.
The Vikings shot .571 (32-56) from the floor, including four of seven from three point range. The rebounding total was one-sided (43-23) in favor of Augustana as Schlitter led the way with 10 and Johnson had six.
Hennings led Simpson in scoring with 21 points as he connected on nine of 10 from the field. The second leading scorer for Simpson was Charles Swain with seven points.
Augustana is now 3-1 on the season while Simpson falls to 0-5. The Vikings will play at Knox in Galesburg, Illinois on Saturday, November 30 with a 3:00 p.m. tip-off.