Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Vikings win second round battle against Hope

Augustana Junior Chrishawn Orange goes up against a Hope College player during the NCAA game on Saturday night at the Carver Center. Photo by Kevin Donovan

The Augustana Vikings are headed to their fourth consecutive Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Division III tournament after their 95-83 win over Hope College on Saturday, March 3.
The winningest player in Augustana history, senior Dylan Sortillo, got the crowd involved from the very beginning after making the first basket of the game. He scored his career high of 30 points, which included seven three pointers, five were in the first half.
Since this could have been Sortillo’s final game at the Carver Center, Coach Grey Giovanine said that Sortillo really stepped up and executed the game plan well.
“For Dylan to rise up like he did tonight and have basically a career game in the biggest moment of his career was just phenomenal,” Giovanine said. “He’s just not ready to go home yet.”
Despite Sortillo’s 19 first half points, the Flying Dutchmen kept the score relatively close towards the half. The Vikings led 46-40 at the half.
After trailing at the end of the first half, Hope tied the game five times and caused two lead changes within the first seven minutes.
The Vikings needed a major play to grab an advantage. This happened with 12:48 left when Sortillo was fouled and made three free throw shots. Combined with junior Chrishawn Orange’s free throw shot made before this, the Vikings went on a much needed 11-0 run in less than four minutes.
After this run, the Flying Dutchmen were only able to get within seven points of the Vikings for the remainder of the game. Giovanine said that this moment gave the Vikings a major confidence booster.
“It ignites the crowd and that’s hard on your opponent when you have a spark like that and that’s what we needed tonight and I think that was a moment in the game when things really turned and we took advantage of it,” Giovanine said.
Another moment like this was when Augustana sophomore, Donovan Ferguson, dunked with 3:28 minutes left to give the Vikings a 14 point lead, their largest lead of the night. The Vikings kept a comfortable lead for the remainder of the game.
Three other Augustana players finished in double digit scoring: Orange (21 points), juniors Nolan Ebel (16 points) and Brett Benning (10 points).
After overcoming a difficult first round battle against Greenville, Sortillo said the Vikings focused on staying strong and confident throughout the game.
“We pride ourselves on being the tougher team,” Sortillo said. “We just have a lot of tough guys. I think that’s what gives this crowd energy.”
Looking back at last year’s runner up finish, Augustana hopes to make another long run in the NCAA tournament this year. As for preparing for the next round play, Orange said that Augustana’s experience allows for the team to stay focused and collected.
“We keep coming at you in waves. We don’t give up,” Orange said.
Augustana will play in the Sweet 16 on Friday, March 9. The location and time has yet to be determined.
Photo Above: Augustana Junior Chrishawn Orange goes up against a Hope College player during the NCAA game on Saturday night at the Carver Center. Photo by Kevin Donovan

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Vikings win second round battle against Hope