Vikings sit in third place in conference
The Augustana College men’s basketball team started the season off hot, winning 10 of its first 12 games of the season.
The Vikings opened up the season in mid-November with a game against Heidelberg University and claimed their first win of the year, 73-64. The second-ranked Vikings never trailed in the game and at one point held a 20-point lead over Heidelberg. At one point in the second half, Augustana went on a 20-7 run. Chrishawn Orange led the offensive attack for the Vikings with 21 points. Other players scored in double digits, including Dylan Sortillo and Pierson Wofford, who each put up 14 points in the win.
Following the opening game of the year, Augustana returned home to host Calvin College. The Vikings won their second-straight game with an 80-69 victory over the Knights. Augustana got off to a hot start, scoring the first 16 points of the game and took a 44-33 lead into halftime. In the second half, the Knights fought back, and both teams scored 36 points in the second half; however, Augustana’s first-half lead was too much to overcome, and the Vikings improved to 2-0 on the year.
Augustana continued its winning streak in the third game of the season, with a 65-53 defeat of Alma College. After a fairly easy win over Calvin College in the previous game, Alma proved to be a much tougher opponent. Neither team shot well from the floor in the first half, with each team going into the break with low shooting percentages from the field. However, the Vikings took a 27-19 lead into the halftime break. In the second half, Alma kept the score close, but Augustana did enough to secure its third win of the year.
The Vikings lone loss of the year at the time of publication came in a double-overtime loss to the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Titans. In the game, the Titans overcame several comebacks by Augustana to hold onto a 95-89 victory. The first half ended with Oshkosh having a 36-28 lead over the Vikings; in the second half, Augustana fought back from an 11-point deficit to send the game to overtime. In the first extra frame, each team scored six points. However, the Titans sealed the win in the second period of extra time.
Orange put up 23 points to lead the team in scoring and pulled down five rebounds. Sortillo put up 20 points, and Nolan Ebel scored 18 for the Vikings.
Following the lone loss of the regular season, Augustana rattled off five straight wins to improve to 9-1 on the year at the time of publication. During the team’s winning streak, it knocked off CCIW foes North Central College by a score of 79-72 and bested Carthage College 70-61. The Vikings currently sit atop the CCIW conference, with Illinois Wesleyan University in second place and Wheaton College rounding out the top three in the conference.
The Vikings will face off against Wheaton and IWU in early January and look to remain at the top of the conference standings.
For more information on the Vikings basketball season or to view the team’s full schedule, visit www.athletics.augustana.edu.