WSC men hold on to top Augustana 63-59 in NSIC opener

WSC men hold on to top Augustana 63-59 in NSIC opener
November 24th, 2021 | WSC Sports Information

Wayne, Neb. — The Wayne State Wildcats never trailed against Augustana University and held off a late Viking rally, winning 63-59 to open NSIC conference play Tuesday evening at Rice Auditorium in Wayne. The ‘Cats improve to 3-2 overall and 1-0 in NSIC action while Augustana falls to 4-1 and 0-1 in the league.

            Wayne State made the first bucket of the game on the initial possession, and took the first lead less than 30 seconds into the contest. The game saw five ties, with the final tie coming halfway through the first half at 9:50 remaining in the first half. With the score tied 14-14, Wayne State used a three pointer from freshman Jay Saunders to take the lead 17-14 and never looked back.       

The ‘Cats extended the lead to 10 before the end as junior Jordan Janssen made a layup with just over 30 seconds to go in the first period to take a 32-22 lead. Augustana followed up with a three pointer to cut the ‘Cats lead to seven at halftime with the score 32-25.

            Wayne State shot a perfect 5 of 5 from the free throw line in the first half while shooting 41 percent (12-29) from the field and 33 percent (3-9) from behind the arc. Wayne State held Augustana to just 1 of 8 on 3 pointers in the first half and 29 percent shooting from the field (10-35).

            Janssen led all scorers with eight points in the first half to go along with five rebounds and two assists.

            Wayne State opened the second half keeping the lead right around the 10 point mark, taking a 40-30 advantage into the first media timeout with 14:43 left in the second half. The Wildcats pushed lead to a game-high 13 points with 12:15 remaining in the ball game.

            The ‘Cats took a seven point edge into the under-five media timeout with the score 56-49. Augustana crawled back and cut the deficit to just two points on three separate occasions, but with less than a minute to play Wayne State made five of six free throws to hold off the Vikings.

            Wayne State took the win by a final score of 63-59.

            Wayne State shot 46 percent from the field (24-52) and 29 percent from downtown (4-14) while making 11 of 14 free throws for 79 percent. The ‘Cats had two more assists in the contest (6-4) while both teams had 33 rebounds. Augustana had one less turnover (12-11) and each team had seven steals. Wayne State had seven blocked shots in the game while only allowing two for Augustana.

            Wayne State had an advantage in points off turnovers (11-6) and a 36-26 lead in points in the paint. Wayne State allowed 10 second chance points and scored nine of their own. The ‘Cats had a one point edge in fast break points (11-10) and had seven more points off the bench (17-10).

            Janssen scored a team-high 14 points for the Wildcats while leading both teams with nine rebounds and three assists. Justin Eagins scored 13 for the ‘Cats and Saunders had 10 to round out the double digit scorers for WSC.

Senior Ben Dentlinger tied a career-high in blocks with five to go along with three rebounds.

            The Wildcats will be at home again Saturday afternoon hosting Doane University at 3:30 p.m. in a non-conference game in Rice Auditorium.

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