Augustana Vikings Sweep USF En Route to NSIC Title
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – It was a championship night for the Augustana men's basketball team. The No. 5 Vikings topped Sioux Falls 74-54 to improve to 16-2 in the NSIC and claim the overall and south division championship with a game to play. On the season, Augustana moves to 22-2 while USF falls to 11-13 on the year and 7-11 in the loop. The conference championship is the sixth in program history and the first since 2016 for Augustana. It is the third under head coach Tom Billeter, who was also part of the 2015 NSIC Championship.
In what proved to be a tight first half, with AU leading 41-37, Augustana took control in the second half. In the second half, Augustana outscored the Cougars 33-17 as USF was held to just one two-point basket in the half.
It was an 8-0 run to jump-start the second half, beginning with a pair of Adam Dykman free throws. Tyler Riemersma followed with back-to-back points in the paint. Isaac Fink put an exclamation point on the run with a fast-break layup.
That fast-break layup was set up by a blocked shot from Jameson Bryan, who then secured the rebound and pitched ahead to the streaking Fink. That made the score 49-37 in favor of the Vikings with 16:39 remaining in the contest. The assist for Bryan was one of 11 for the night.
After the Cougars cut the deficit back to six points at 49-43, it was back to the races for Augustana with a 16-0 run. That run was aided by 10 points from Riemersma, who had a career-high 31 points in the contest, along with a trey from Bryan and a free throw from Dykman.
Riemersma went back-to-back-to-back on made baskets and added an old-fashioned 3-point play as part of his 10 points in the run.
After the 16-0 run, Augustana led 65-43 and the game's conclusion was all but decided for the final 9:59 of the game clock.
Akoi Akoi came off the bench for 20:02 of game action and scored six second-half points to push to the final margin of victory at 74-54.
In all, Riemersma ended with 31 points and 10 rebounds while Akoi had a career-best 13 points. Dykman totaled 11 points. Bryan's 11 assists came against just one turnover, surely to boost his nation's third-best assist-to-turnover ratio.
In addition to the Vikings' offensive output, Dylan LeBrun held the NSIC's leading scorer to just seven points on 2-of-13 shooting.
The Vikings close the regular season on Saturday by hosting Southwest Minnesota State at the Sanford Pentagon. Tipoff for the Senior Night contest is slated for 5:30 p.m.