NCAA Semifinal: Augustana (IL) 90, Williams 79

NCAA Semifinal: Augustana (IL) 90, Williams 79

Courtesy of Williams Sports Information

SALEM, Va. - Augustana (24-8) ended Williams' (23-9) improbable run to the Final Four with a 90-79 victory at the Salem Civic Center. The Vikiings secured a spot in the national championship game and face Babson on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. 

Despite only committing three fouls and one turnover against the stout defense of Augustana in the first half, the Ephs' shot only 35.5 percent from the floor, which included a 1-for-10 effort from long range to open the game.

Crishawn Orange and Jacob Johnston led Augustana, both racking up double digits in the first half and missing just one shot between them, as the Vikings shot 66.7 percent from behind the arc, and made six of their first seven threes.

Augustana jumped out to a double-digit lead in just the first few minutes behind four three-pointers from three different players. The Ephs dialed up the defense, forcing the Viking into eight turnovers in the first half, and sliced the lead to single digits. Daniel Aronowitz beat the buzzer with a half-court shot at the end of the first half to cut Augustana's lead to eight as the teams headed into the break.

Williams opened the second half with a 10-0 run, with several of the points coming from the foul line. The Ephs finished the game going 21-for-24 from the stripe.

After trailing by as much as 15 in the first half, a pair of foul shots by Cole Teal gave Williams a 44-42 lead with 16:46 to play. Augustana answered as Crishawn Orange knocked down buckets on back-to-back possessions to knot the game up.

Two Donovan Ferguson free throws, which he followed with a steal to set up Brett Benning for a floater, gave the Vikings a modest four-point lead. Three-pointers from the Ephs threatened the lead, but each time the Vikings were able to match the shots and maintain an advantage.

Down 71-65, Aronowitz converted a layup, Teal hit a foul shot, and Aronowitz got a putback off his own miss to cut the Ephs' deficit to just one. Augustana responded with its own run, starting with a pair of free throws by Nolan Ebel, a tough post bucket through a triple-team by Micah Martin, and then a three from the corner by Benning to push out to an eight-point lead.

Williams looked to recover as Aronowitz made a layup, but three more points from Orange, including a long two-point jumper gave the Vikings an 81-72 lead with 1:11 to play. Williams resorted to fouling to try to extend the game, but the Vikings were able to knock down the free throws to close out the win. 

Aronowitz led all scorers with 29 points, including five three-pointers, and Kyle Scadlock contributed 16 points and a team-high five rebounds. Aronowitz, one of two seniors on this team, finished his career ranking 14th all-time in Williams history, with 1,362 career points.

Orange topped the score sheet for Augustana, scoring 21 points on an 8-of-9 performance from the floor, While Benning and Ebel each contributed 17 points. Dylan Sortillo added 15, as well as  a game-high nine rebounds.

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