After a 5-0 start to the season, the No. 2 ranked Augustana Vikings suffered its first loss of the season to the No. 18 UW-Oshkosh Titans by a score of 95-89 in double overtime.
Augustana, led by Junior captain, Chrishawn Orange, had 23 points and five rebounds, trailed by as many as 11 points early in the second half, but battled back to take a lead with eight minutes remaining in regulation.
However, in a game that featured 10 lead changes and 13 ties, the Vikings were unable to hold off the Titans, who had all five starters score in double-digits.
“We came out stagnant and got ourselves in a little bit of a hole,” Senior captain, Dylan Sortillo, said. “But, we battled back, and I thought we showed tremendous heart. It was just too little, too late.”
To go along with Orange’s offensive output, Sortillo contributed 20 points to the Vikings effort, which included him hitting 3-of-8 from beyond the arch.
This was the Vikings’ first game against a ranked opponent this season. Although the outcome was not what he and his teammates desired, Sortillo refused to dwell on the negatives.
“I feel a lot better after hitting the court for practice and film and seeing that we can fix our issues,” he said. “We saw that we have to be a lot tougher and a lot smarter, and I think this will help us moving forward.”
The absence of Junior forward, Pierson Wofford, has been noticed by Augustana. Wofford, who tore his ACL in the contest against Illinois prior to Thanksgiving, was averaging 14.7 points and 11.7 rebounds per game before his season-ending injury.
The Vikings are not looking to make excuses, however, and understand they must adjust to a season without one of the team’s top contributors.
“It was obviously a big loss for us, but we have to keep moving forward and have the next man up mentality,” Orange said. “We have a system built where, if one man goes down, another one steps up. That’s what we’ve been doing and what we need to continue to do.”
Augustana will now start the beginning portion of its Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin schedule. The Vikings face-off against the North Central Cardinals on Dec. 6 at the Carver Center.
The Cardinals, who come in with a record of 3-2 and a two-game win streak, will look to hand Augie its second consecutive loss, while the Vikings view this game as a prime opportunity to get back on track.
“We are excited to play in front of our crowd again,” Orange said. “It’s exciting to be opening CCIW play, and I know our coaching staff will prepare us and have us ready for what they do. We need to come out focused and get back to playing how we want to play.”
After playing host to North Central at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday night, the Vikings will travel to Kenosha, Wisconsin, as they face-off against CCIW opponent Carthage at 7 p.m. on Saturday.