Augustana Takes Down No. 1 Lincoln Memorial to Win First Ever National Title
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FRISCO, Texas – Augustana University men's basketball defeated Lincoln Memorial University 90-81 to win its first ever NCAA Division II National Championship on Saturday afternoon at Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco, Texas.
Augustana finishes the season with a program record 34 wins and a 34-2 record on the season. LMU finished the year with a record of 34-3.
The National Championship marks the third team title in school history. Augustana won the NCAA Division II women's cross country National Championship in 2011 and softball won a national title in 1991.
Seniors Alex Richter, Casey Schilling and Daniel Jansen each put up 20-plus point performances in the final games of their careers, closing out their final two seasons with a record of 65-5.
Richter, Schilling and Jansen were named to the Elite Eight All-Tournament team and Richter was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament. Lincoln Memorial's Gerel Simmons and West Liberty's Seger Bonifant were also named to the all-tournament team.
Richter led the Vikings with 26 points in the national championship game to go along with six rebounds. Jansen added 25 points and nine rebounds and Schilling closed-out his career with a 20-point, 19-rebound performance.
Jansen finishes his career as Augustana's all-time leading scorer with 2,255 career points. Schilling finished second all-time with 2,054 and third all-time with 997 career rebounds. Richter finishes his career ranked 13th all-time with 1,462 points.
Augustana finished the game shooting 46.3 percent (31 of 67) from the field, hitting 7 of 15 from behind the arc. The Vikings knocked down 21 of 27 free throws in the game.
Adam Beyer added nine points and four rebounds and Jordan Spencer pitched in with eight points, seven assists and three steals. Spencer set a new single season record for assists, ending the year with 244. Spencer broke Pat Freidel's record of 240 assists in 1987-88.
Gerel Simmons led Lincoln Memorial with 21 points on 8 of 19 shooting. The Railsplitters finished the game shooting 47 percent (32 of 68) from the field, hitting 8 of 22 from behind the arc.
Alex Richter got the Vikings off to a hot start in the first half, scoring 10 points in the first five-plus minutes of the contest after opening up the scoring with a 3-pointer. Augustana opened up a 13-4 lead over the Railsplitters starting the game 5 of 7 from the field.
Augustana extended its lead to nine at 15-6 before Lincoln Memorial was able to take advantage of a cold shooting streak by the Vikings. LMU went on a 14-5 run while the Vikings went just 1-10 from the field, which included a four minute scoring drought, to tie the game at 20-20 with 6:28 remaining in the half.
The Vikings and Railsplitters then got into a back-and-forth affair over the next five minutes, playing to a 36-36 tie with 1:35 remaining in the first. Augustana was able to close-out the half on a 5-2 run to take a five-point lead into the locker room at the half.
Richter led the Vikings with 16 points in the first half and was one of three players in double-figures in the first 20 minutes. Jansen added 10 points in the half and Schilling put up a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds in 20 minutes of action.
After starting out the game hot from the field, Augustana finished the half shooting 44 percent (16 of 36) from the field. The Vikings knocked down 4 of 10 from behind the arc in the first, getting two from Richter.
Lincoln Memorial knocked down a 3-pointers right out of the gate in the second half but Schilling took over scoring six of Augustana's next eight points to help the Vikings build an eight point lead at 51-43.
The Railsplitters were able to cut it to six but just as quickly, Augustana pushed the lead to 14 after Schilling grabbed an offensive board and Jansen put in a jumper making the score 62-48 with 13:44 to play.
Lincoln Memorial picked up the pressure on the defensive end and two minutes later, forced Augustana into a couple turnovers allowing the Railsplitters to cut the lead all the way down to five at 64-59 with 11:12 remaining.
Jansen scored six straight to slow LMU down and push the lead back up to double-digits and the Vikings kept a large enough lead down the stretch, until the Raisplitters cut it to a five-point game at 82-77 with 4:06 to play.
Richter knocked down a big 3-pointer in the corner off of a great feed from Beyer to push the lead back up to eight and Augustana kept LMU off the board for two straight minutes to close-out the game and seal the program's first ever National Championship.
Augustana will have a welcome home reception at the Elmen Center at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29.