Late rally fuels WSC in men's basketball NSIC opener; Janssen becomes program's top rebounder
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Freshman David Harmon scored 10 points late in the second half to fuel a Wildcat rally as Wayne State stormed back from a 10-point deficit with 10 minutes remaining to defeat Augustana 69-61 in the NSIC men's basketball opener for both teams Tuesday evening at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. WSC is now 4-1 and 1-0 in the NSIC while the host Vikings drop to 2-3 and 0-1 in the league.
Both teams got off to a slow start as the two teams combined for only nine points in the first seven minutes of the contest.
Augustana held a 7-2 lead early, but Wayne State scored the next 10 points for a 12-7 lead at the 10:54 mark following a Jay Saunders layup.
Later in the half with WSC leading 17-14, the Wildcats used an 8-0 run over a span of 2:54 to take a 25-14 lead after a pair of Justin Eagins free throws with 2:45 to play in the half.
WSC held another 11-point lead at 27-16 before finishing the first half with a 29-21 lead, holding Augustana to just 23 percent shooting (7-30) in the opening 20 minutes of play.
Augustana used a pair of scoring runs early in the second half to build a double digit lead until Wayne State answered with a late rally.
WSC held a 35-26 lead three minutes into the second half, but Augustana reeled off 14 straight points over the next 3:21 to take a 40-35 lead.
After a Jordan Janssen jumper cut the Viking lead to three at 40-37, the Vikings used another scoring run of eight straight points to take a double digit lead at 47-37 with 10:36 remaining.
Augustana still led 54-45 with 6:30 to play when the Wildcats scored 11 straight points over the next three minutes as a 3-pointer from Harmon put the 'Cats in front 56-54 with 3:31 to play.
The two teams traded leads with Augustana holding a 61-60 lead with 1:44 to play.
WSC took the lead for good on a Nate Mohr jumper at 62-61, then a Harmon trey pushed the lead to 65-61. Two free throws from Mohr with 18 seconds to play made the lead 67-61 and Harmon sealed the win with a pair of free throws with three seconds left to give the Wildcats a 69-61 victory.
Wayne State finished the game shooting 24 of 55 from the field for 43.6 percent. The 'Cats were just 5 of 17 behind the arc and connected on 16 of 17 free throws (94%).
Janssen was one of four Wildcats in double figures scoring a team-high 18 points. He also added 14 rebounds for his second double-double of the season and became the all-time rebounding leader at Wayne State with 975, surpassing Larry Coney's previous school record of 969 rebounds from 1958-62.
Jay Saunders also hit double figures with 11 points followed by Harmon and Cody McCullough with 10 apiece. Fifth year guard Nate Mohr scored six points and became the 37th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point mark at WSC with 1,001 career points.
Augustana shot just 37.9 percent from the field making 22 of 58 shots. The Vikings were 6 of 17 from the 3-point line and 11 for 12 at the free throw line.
Akoi Akoi had 19 points for Augustana with Ryan Miller adding 14.
WSC won the rebounding battle over the Vikings 34-29 thanks to Janssen's 14 rebounds.
Wayne State will play Tampa (Fla.) Friday evening at 6 p.m. Central Time at the Eckerd Thanksgiving Classic in St. Petersburg, Florida.