Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Men’s basketball stays undefeated in CCIW play


The number one nationally DIII ranked men’s basketball team (19-1, 11-0) is currently undefeated in conference play. If they win their five remaining CCIW games, it will be the first time since the 1972-73 season the Vikings will have a perfect conference record.
This is not the only historical milestone the Vikings have in mind for this season. Their 17-game winning streak is tied for the best this season in Division III. The team also has a chance to win their fifth straight conference title, something that has never been done in Augustana history.
Along with these CCIW goals in mind, the team’s overall objective is to win a NCAA national championship. The Vikings have been close the last four years, but are still waiting for their national title.
Senior captain Nolan Ebel, who played in the national championship game in 2017, said the team is well-prepared for any tough challenges that may come their way based on what they have experienced in the last few seasons.
“This group has been able to do a lot of really fun things in the last four years, but win a national championship is kind of the one thing we haven’t been able to get done,” Ebel said. “When we think about the legacy that this group is going to leave behind, that’s the cherry on top that we’re really trying to accomplish.”
The road to this so far successful 2018-19 season has not been all easy for the Vikings. Four wins finished in a five point or less margin. In these games, the outcome came down to the last few minutes.
Even though there have been games where the Vikings trail their opponent heading into the final minutes, the players stay focused and finish out the game in their favor. The only game the team has lost this season was against non-conference Loras College in November, where the Vikings lost by one point in the last few seconds of the game.
Senior captain Chrishawn Orange said how one of the team’s goals this season was to finish games better, and this is starting to show in these close matchups.
“At the end of the day, just staying together and keep coming is our biggest philosophy,” Orange said. “We can be down, we can be up, but we just want to be consistent, and it pays off in the long run.”
In the second half of their CCIW season, the Vikings replay the same conference teams that they have already been victorious against. One big test for Augustana was to beat Carroll College away, something the Vikings haven’t done.
The challenge deemed successful for the Vikings as they grabbed their first victory at Carroll in team history, winning 68-56 on Saturday, Jan. 26.
As the Vikings finish out their regular season, they stay focused on each individual game while constantly keeping their overall goals in the back of their minds.
The Vikings will play three more home games before the conference tournament. Junior Pierson Wofford talked about how the team appreciates all the Augustana community’s continuing support at the Carver Center, especially after he noticed that the other CCIW schools don’t have the same crowd energy like at Augustana.
“There’s nothing like the Carver Center on a packed night,” Wofford said. “It makes you take a look back and realize that we’re playing a game, but it’s a lot more than a game. People in the community care about you.”
The Vikings’ next home game will be on Saturday, Feb. 2 against North Park University at 7 p.m where they will look to stay undefeated in conference play.
Photo by Ian Murrin.

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Men’s basketball stays undefeated in CCIW play