Vikings begin CCIW season undefeated


Chrishawn Orange, senior, trys to overcome Ray Pierce, Carroll University player, during the Viking’s Dec. 1 game. Photo by Alia McMurray.

Madison Williams

The Augustana men’s basketball team (5-1, 1-0) has officially become undefeated in the CCIW after their first conference game of the season against Carroll University winning 68-56 on Saturday, Dec. 1.
Coming off a major offensive battle on Wednesday, Nov. 28 against UW-Stevens Point, where the Vikings won 86-84 in overtime, Augustana knew they needed to shift their focus to their defensive strategies before their Saturday matchup.
The Vikings only allowed the Pioneers 19 points in the first half, none of those points being from three-point baskets, a shot that the Pioneers often make.
Head coach Grey Giovanine was encouraged by his team’s defensive effort throughout the night.
“[In the] first half, I thought we played as good a defense as we have all year,” Giovanine said. “I feel like we’re making progress.”
By the end of the second half, the Pioneers attempted to catch up to the Vikings. They got as close to 11 points behind with only :46 left in the game. Junior Austin Elledge (10 points off the bench) secured the Vikings’ win with a two-point basket and free throw.
The top scorer of the night was junior Pierson Wofford (16 points) who closed the first half with two baskets, making the score 33-19. Wofford then opened the second half with the first basket. This sparked two back-to-back three-pointers from senior Brett Benning (8 points), allowing the Vikings to go up 41-20.
The Vikings doubled the Pioneers’ score on a few occasions, the highest being 51-25 with 13 minutes to go in the game. This lead was made by senior Nolan Ebel (10 points) who reached his career 1000 points during the game. The only Pioneers lead was 2-0 at the beginning of the game.
Giovanine knew the Vikings wouldn’t have as much difficulty scoring after Wednesday’s game and wanted the team to be prepared to play all sides of the court effectively.
“We don’t need to score more points, we got to get better on the other end,” Giovanine said.
Wofford also talked about the team’s focus on defensive play in the days leading up to this game.
“We like to think that we’re versatile. We like to think that our brand of basketball can affect everybody,” Wofford said. “We want to be that team that has the deepest team and the toughest and [most] durable. So whenever a different team with a different play style comes in, we like to be able to acclimate to them.”
The Vikings now have a week until their next CCIW matchup against Illinois Wesleyan. Giovanine said that opening the conference season with a win is a confidence builder.
“It’s a grindout, long season, so it’s good to get that first win,” Giovanine said.
The Vikings will travel to MacMurray College on Wednesday, Dec. 5, and then return to the Carver Center to play against Illinois Wesleyan on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m.
Photo: Chrishawn Orange, senior, tries to overcome Ray Pierce, Carroll University player, during the Viking’s Dec. 1 game. Photo by Alia McMurray.