Tom Johnston

WHEATON, Ill.– It may have been an 88-67 road loss to Wheaton to open the shortened 2021 season, but Augustana College males’s basketball coach Steve Schafer saw a couple of things he liked from his Vikings in Saturday’s season-opening problem.

” They combated,” said Schafer. “Wheaton is an excellent team and we’re really young as we discussed in the past, however I was happy of our fight.”

That battle revealed as the Vikings were doubled-up at 18-9 simply under seven minutes into the CCIW contest at King Arena however fought back to take a 19-18 lead. Augie led 28-26 on a Daniel Carr jumper with 6:52 left in the opening half. Nevertheless, the Thunder hit four late 3-pointers and closed the half on a 19-5 go to take a 45-33 halftime lead.

Then trailing 52-38, the Vikings reeled off a 12-2 run to get within 54-50. Nate Ortiz and Justin Bottorff opened that spree with layups, and Luke Johnson and Matt Hanushewsky sandwiched 3-pointers around another Ortiz layup.

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” We made some shots and got some stops and after that we ran out of gas,” stated Schafer. “I dislike to say that, however we had people that sort of got tired out. … No reasons. Wheaton reacted and went to their best gamer (Nyaneye Adom) and he made some shots.”

But much like in the first half, many of the Thunder’s responses was available in the type of 3-pointers, as they nailed 13 of 28 (46.4%) from behind the arc.

” We played great basketball for 30 minutes, however we had a five-minute stretch in both halves where I believed we lost focus,” said Schafer. “We got tired out and enabled that to dictate our effort and our execution. At this level with young people you have to learn you can’t have lulls because when you do, great groups will make the most of that, which’s what occurred tonight.”

The Thunder had four players in double-figure scoring– Adom (26 ), Tyson Cruickshank (20 ), Luke Anthony (15) and Cade Alioth (11 ).

” Adom is an unique player,” stated Wheaton coach Mike Schauer on his post-game streaming interview, echoing Schafer’s ideas.

Augie sophomore Carter Duwa, in his collegiate launching, made rather a splash. Playing after a shoulder injury prevented him from taking the court last season, the former Pleasant Valley prep can be found in off the bench and drilled his first five shots, consisting of 3 3s. He ended up with those 13 points on 5 of 10 shooting to lead the Vikings.

Ortiz included 12 points and Carr put up 10 points to choose a team-high 8 rebounds.

” He was a great lift,” said Schafer of Duwa, who was shaking off a hip injury that had slowed him. “He’s a guy who is going to be a great weapon for us the next 4 years. Anytime you have a freshman, you never know what to expect. Man, did he ever can be found in and present himself to the CCIW in a terrific way. I’m actually happy with him.”

According to Schafer, the Vikings looked far better on Saturday than they did a week previously in a rough scrimmage versus Carroll. He liked a few things he saw.

” When you get beat like this, there’s undoubtedly a lot to work on,” said Schafer. “I believed we had some bright spots with people like Carter. We just had 10 turnovers and our objective is 12 or less with this young group. … We just had 14 fouls, which I take pride in because we really worry protecting without fouling.

” There are things the people did an excellent task of that we’re emphasizing, however still a lot to work on.”

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