Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Men’s basketball shooting for seventh win

Junior Dylan Sortillo shoots the ball in Augustana’s victory against Illinois Wesleyan. The Vikings won 92-77. Photo by Alia McMurray.

The Augustana men’s basketball team has catapulted up the Division III national men’s basketball rankings, now at No. 20 in the nation. Before they went on their seven game win streak, the Vikings were unranked.
This winning streak has brought their record to 14-3 overall and they currently hold the top spot in the CCIW standings with a 7-1 record in conference play.
The Vikings head coach Grey Giovanine attributed the Vikings most recent success to his newer players gaining experience and the return of sophomore forward Pierson Wofford.
Wofford (10.6 points per game) has played in almost all of the Vikings 17 games, but has not been at full strength because of a jaw injury.
“Pierson had his jaw wired shut for two months and lost 23 pounds. He is just now getting back to his regular weight,” said Giovanine.
The Vikings are finding strength in their junior class with Dylan Sortillo leading the team in scoring with 14.2 points per game. Not to be outdone, senior Jacob Johnston is third in points per game with 12.9 and leads in rebounds at 5.3 per game.
However, the rest of the team is not far behind in each category.
“Most of our teams have good balance, and that is certainly the case this year. It makes it tough to prepare for us because you can’t focus on stopping just one guy,” Giovanine said.
The Vikings are a balanced team on offense, but it’s their defense that has allowed them to go on their most recent winning streak according to sophomore guard Chrishawn Orange.
“Our defense has really started to pick up in our winning streak. We pride ourselves on the defensive end and when we defend well it makes the game easier for all of us,” said Orange.
The next game will be at home against Carthage College this Saturday. After that, the Vikings will have five away games and two home games for the rest of their regular season.
The last two home games of the regular season will be on Feb. 4 and 8 as the Vikings go against Millikin University and North Central College. Giovanine said he hopes the crowds for those games are huge.
“We have two more home games and our students have played such a critical role in the past, I really hope we can pack the Carver Center on those nights,” said Giovanine.

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Men’s basketball shooting for seventh win