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 win for WSC snaps an eight-game losing streak to Augustana dating back to January 15, 2013 and give the Wildcats a 3-1 record overall and 1-0 mark in the NSIC while the Vikings are now 3-2 and 0-1 in league play.
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 seconds to play, cutting the WSC lead to 78-75. Sophomore guard Luke TerHark made one of two free throws with 16 seconds remaining 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 80-75 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.
Wayne State made 25 of 53 shots for 47.2 percent, including 8 for 19 from the 3-point line and 22 of 30 at the free throw line.
Jordan Spencer led Augustana with a game-high 23 points followed by John Warren with 17.
Augustana finished the game shooting 28 of 65 for 43.1 percent, going 4 of 15 beyond the arc and 15 of 18 at the charity stripe.
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 WSC (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.