Avera

Augustana men’s basketball moves onto conference play and into Sanford Pentagon

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)- The Augustana men’s basketball started their 2019 season with a 5-1 non-conference record, however the Vikings have had some adversity through the first month of the season.

“Playing through some injuries, we haven’t had Matt Cartwright, he really wasn’t healthy out at hills, but I think our team has done a nice job stepping up and making up for that and it’s brought some other guys up such as Matt Todd has really brought up his scoring and Michael Schaefer continues to score well for us,” Augustana men’s basketball coach Tom Billeter said.

The Viking offense has scored over 500 points in just six games, but the Augustana defense has had their struggles this season as Augie is allowing nearly 74 points per contest.

“Our defense has got to get better. We’ve got to be better as a team, the weak side’s not off jumping to the ball and taking away cuts. All the little things that a team still needs to learn. I’ve never been on a team that has it all down cold and we teach it every day. Every screen known to basketball, you need to know how to defend and we still are learning that and getting better at it, so overall our defense is getting better every day,” Billeter said.

The Vikings will move into their toughest part of the year as they prepare for their 22 game conference schedule. As the season gets tougher, the Vikings will have a change of venue as well as they will play all of their conference games at the Sanford Pentagon.

“A really good friend of mine, Carlin Harman, an associate head coach at Oklahoma and they played out there a couple weeks ago against Minnesota and he just immediately texted me saying, ‘I can’t believe this is where you guys play.’ When you’re hearing power five conference coaches comment on the facility that you call home and St. Mary’s was doing the exact same thing, we’re pretty blessed,” Billeter said.

While this is the first season with the Pentagon as Augustana’s home court, Augie is hopeful that the Pentagon will bring an advantage to the Vikings in years to come.

“We just haven’t had a chance to take advantage of any of it and I think down the road, we have a ten year deal with them and that’s great because we’ll be able to use that for recruiting and I think it’ll be huge for season ticket sales as we continue. We’re so fortunate to have that facility be our home court,” Billeter said.

Augustana will travel to Wayne State on Saturday and will host their first conference home game at the Sanford Pentagon on December 6 at 7:30.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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