Men break losing skid, outlast Augustana

Wayne State led for nearly the entire game, then held off a late Augustana comeback to fend off the Vikings 80-75 Monday evening in the Northern Sun Conference men’s basketball opener for both teams at Rice Auditorium in Wayne.

The Wildcat win snapped an eight-game losing streak to Augustana dating back to Jan. 15, 2013 and give the Wildcats a 3-1 record overall and 1-0 mark in the NSIC.

Augustana’s Jordan Spencer opened the game with a 3-pointer for the lone Viking lead of the contest.  The Wildcats made 7 of their first 11 shots of the contest and took a 17-8 lead at the 12:25 mark following an Austin Esters jumper.

The Vikings got as close as three at 20-17, but the Wildcats pushed the lead back to eight several times before finishing the first half with a 36-29 lead.

Augustana started quickly in the second half and pulled within one at 36-35.  Wayne State responded and took their first double-digit lead of the game at 49-39 on a Kendall Jacks layup with 13:40 remaining.

Wayne State then held a double-digit lead for a good portion of the next 10 minutes until a late rally by the Vikings made the game interesting.

The Wildcats led 70-58 with 2:47 to play after a pair of Jordan Cornelius free throws.

Augustana used a Jordan Spencer layup with :44 to play, cutting the Wildcat lead to 78-75.  Luke TerHark made one of two free throws with :16 left to push the lead to four at 79-75.  Following an Augustana missed shot, Brian Goodwin was fouled and made one of two free throws with nine seconds to play to preserve the victory.

Jacks paced Wayne State in scoring with 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field and 6-for-6 at the charity stripe.  Trevin Joseph added 18 points off the bench with Cornelius finishing with 13. Jordan Spencer led Augustana with a game-high 23 points followed by John Warren with 17.

The Vikings held a 38-31 advantage in rebounding over the Wildcats with Matt Cartwright grabbing eight boards for Augustana while Cornelius hauled in seven boards for Wayne State.

Augustana had one more turnover than Wayne State (13-12), but the Vikings held a 17-11 edge in points off turnovers. Wayne State’s bench held a 35-14 advantage in scoring over Augustana.  Brian Goodwin recorded six of Wayne State’s 17 assists.

The Wildcats return to non-conference play this weekend at the Sanford Pentagon Showcase in Sioux Falls, playing New York Institute of Technology Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. and Missouri Southern Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m.

The Wayne Herald

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