Sophomore Alex Richter may have made the biggest 3-pointer in his collegiate career last Saturday.
The Vikings ended up edging out Winona State 81-78 in an overtime win in a packed Elmen Center in the last of four games over the weekend.
With 2.9 seconds left, senior Cameron McCaffrey passed Richter the ball for the go-ahead 3-pointer in the corner to lift the Vikings.
“Cameron had a bunch of guys all over him,” Richter said. “He kind of stumbled, bounced it my way, and I just got it off quick and got the win.”
With Winona being ranked second in the Southern division of the NSIC and the Vikings being ranked third, it was a crucial win for Augustana’s momentum going into the first round of the NSIC tournament.
“It’s good to be home,” head coach Tom Billeter said, when asked about the first round of playoffs.
In the game, the lead scorers for the Vikings were McCaffrey with 20 points, true freshman Daniel Jansen with 19 points and then Richter with 14 points, 4 of 5 of those from 3-point range.
The biggest battle of the night was Jansen against Winona States’ star player Clayton Vette. Vette is second, only behind McCaffrey in the NSIC in points-per-game, and he showed why on Saturday.
Vette had a slow start, being shut down by Jansen through the first half with only 7 points. But in the second half he rallied back to finish with 23 points. Grant Johnson for the Warriors also had a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
“He’s done an amazing job all season for a true freshman,” Billeter said of Jansen. “Vette is 23-24, and Dan is [age] 18, you know? Dan hasn’t had really any off games. He’s only going to get better, he’s only scratching the surface of where he’s going.”
The Vikings were 19-7 and Winona State was 23-6 before going into the postseason.
Not only did the men have overtime action, they ended up following suit from the women who did against Winona State as well.
It was senior night for both teams on Saturday, but unfortunately the women couldn’t pull it off in overtime.
The women led for the majority of the game, but eventually the accumulated lead trickled down to being a tied.
After senior Cami Koehn buried a 3-pointer to put the Vikings up 56-55, senior Alex Feeney fouled and gave Winona State a chance to take the lead.
After making one to tie the game, a missed shot from the Vikings sent the game to overtime. When the Warriors were up three, there was one last push for a tie, but with 2.9 seconds on the clock junior Emily Schulte’s half court heave narrowly missed which gave Winona the win.
“We didn’t shoot the basketball very well over the weekend,” head coach Tim Krauth said. “It kind of haunted us in the second game.”
Despite the loss, the Vikings had a good performance from Feeney who led the scorers with 20 points and senior Faith Tinklenberg who had 18 points.
“Some part of me just wants to match up again with Winona,” Tinklenberg said. “Just because I know we can beat them.”
The Vikings were 20-6 going into the postseason and the Warriors finish the regular season at 19-10.
The men and women also had bouts on Friday night against Upper Iowa. But this time the women came out on top while the men struggled.
The women took down the Peacocks 82-69 thanks to Feeney and four other Vikings with at least 10 points.
Augustana had 22 assists and 33 fast break points on the night which helped them immensly.
“We obviously got going offensively as the game went on,” Krauth said. “In the end we scored enough to win. It was tough and we didn’t shoot the basketball particularly well.”
The Vikings eventually had a 72-55 lead in the game and never looked back. The Peackocks had a brief run, but Tinklenberg gave the Vikings a 17-point lead and it was all but over.
On the men’s side of action, the Vikings, got off to a slow start and just couldn’t catch back up falling 77-66. Despite McCaffrey having 29 points and freshman Tanner Odegaard adding 11 points, the Vikings slow start bogged them down.
“We definitely need to fix coming out the gate slow,” Richter said. “We kind of got it going a little bit into the game, but the slow start killed us.”
The Vikings were being pressed hard in the second half of the game, and it was just too overwhelming to make the comeback.
“We talked a lot about breaking the press,” Billeter said. “If there’s no opportunity to score set up your offense, take a deep breath, and act like the press never happened.
“We didn’t turn the ball over a lot during the press, but it sped us up and got us out of our rhythm.”
The Vikings went on a 10-5 run late in the game, bringing the score to 67-59 with 2:04 to play. Freshman Casey Schilling cut the lead to 70-63 with a layup, but in the final minute the Peackocks hit seven free throws to have the win.
The Augustana women won 66-51 against Minot State, and will play University of Mary on their home court on Saturday
The Vikings won 89-81 against Minnesota Duluth on Wednesday night. Their next match will be at 4 p.m. on March 2 in Aberdeen, S.D. against the the No. 2 seed in the north, Northern State.