Augie men top Black Hills State at East-West Challenge

Vikings get 76-70 win over team coming off consecutive NCAA D2 Elite Eight appearances
Vikings win 76-70 at East-West Crossover
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 11:37 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A big second half from the Augustana men’s basketball team lifted it to victory Friday at the East/West Challenge in Rapid City, South Dakota. The Vikings topped back-to-back Final Four opponent Black Hills State, 76-70.

Jadan Graves poured in a game-high 26 points on 8-of-12 shooting as Isaac Fink tallied 16 points. Sam Rensch had his best outing of the young season with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting to make it a trio of Vikings in double-digit scoring.

After leading 16-15 with just under 10 minutes to play in the opening half, the Yellow Jackets grasped the lead, although not pulling away, to control the remainder of the half. Black Hills State entered the break with a 41-33 lead.

Still holding the lead, but with Augustana staying within striking distance, BHSU maintained the lead throughout the first seven minutes of the second stanza. That’s when the tide began to change as Fink made a layup with 12:39 remaining the game to make it a 52-46 score.

A 22-7 Augustana run flipped the eight-point deficit into a seven-point lead with 6:23 remaining in the game.

As part of the run, Graves made a layup to knot the game at 59-all. After Arhman Lewis made a steal, Rensch swished a jumper to give Augustana its first lead since early in the first half.

A jumper in the paint by Rensch boosted the lead to four points while a 3-point basket from Lewis gave the Vikings their largest lead of the game at 66-59.

Augustana carried that momentum to the end of the game, as the two squads essentially traded baskets down the stretch for the 76-70 final score.

The Vikings shot a season-best 55.1 percent from the field while making 7-of-15 3-point baskets. In addition, a strong effort from the charity stripe gave Augustana 15 points on 18 attempts.

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Augustana remains in Rapid City for a Saturday contest with East/West Challenge host South Dakota Mines. Tipoff is slated for 8:30 p.m. (CST).