SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Augustana men’s basketball team picked up a pair of tough fought victories over USF, including Saturday’s 75-66 win at the Stewart Center.
The weekend sweep of Augie was critical in the NSIC South standings as they climbed into fourth place, with just two games to play in the conference season.
The top four teams from each division will advance to the NSIC Tournament at the Sanford Pentagon and Augustana’s win puts them into that exact position.
“You hate relying on luck and pulling for a team . If you’re relying on another team and you need help, that’s a hard way to live,” Augustana head coach Tom Billeter said. “You’re always worried that way and I’d rather have it in our hands and whatever happens, happens.”
As for the game, the Vikings were able to finish strong for the second straight night as the Vikings outscored USF 12-4 in the final five minutes.
“At the media timeout, with 4:54 to play, we talked about with the guys how you win close games with stops, you’ve got to get stops. You don’t outscore them, you out stop them,” Billeter said. “They (USF) went 1-8 in the last five minutes from the field and I thought that was obviously the difference in the game. The last ten minutes of the game, I thought we played with exceptional energy.”
Augustana was able to pick up their second road weekend sweep of the season, moving them to 6-5 in conference play.
“I thought we did a great job down the stretch of just doing what we do and keeping our composure,” Billeter said. “It’s never easy to beat any team on their homecourt two weeks in a row, especially a team as good as USF. It was a really good weekend and it really helps us going into the next weekend.”
Now the Vikings will prepare for their final regular season games as they will host the first place Wayne State College Wildcats.
“We’re playing the first place team and it’s a wonderful story what Wayne State has done this year,” Billeter said. “They’re coming here to play in the Pentagon and they’ll be great in the Pentagon. We’ve got to show up and I think it’ll be two great games coming up this weekend.”
The Vikings will host the Wildcats on Friday and Saturday. Tip-off on Friday is set for 7:00 p.m. at the Sanford Pentagon.