Vikings one step closer to finals



Hitting two season-highs and having a balanced attack helped Augustana men’s basketball move one step closer toward the ultimate goal: winning the NSIC finals.

Last Saturday, the Vikings defeated the Northern State University Wolves in Aberdeen, S.D. 85-61, after a big second half. Senior Cameron McCaffrey led the Vikings with 26 points and hit a career-high 14 free throws on 14 attempts.

McCaffrey recently passed former teammate Cody Schilling as Augustana’s all-time leading scorer with 1,876 career points in the victory over the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

In the game against Northern State, freshman Zach Huisken also added his career-high 15 points on 5 of 10 shooting.

Hitting 31 free throws and making 10 steals, both season highs, the Vikings showed they can come back after a rough first half.

The Vikings were down 8-0 in the first two minutes of the game, when freshman Zach Huisken had two consecutive 3-pointers to bring the Vikings to within one basket.

After some back-and-forth play from both teams, the Vikings ended up going into halftime with a two-point lead.

During the second half, the Vikings shined.

The Vikings began the second half and with a 12-3 run. After a technical was called on Northern State’s head coach Paul Sather, McCaffrey put the Vikings up by the biggest lead of the night, 49-36.

After a few minutes, freshman Tanner Odegaard put the Vikings up by 10 with his 11th 3-pointer of the season. The Vikings followed with a 14-5 run including eight free throws and four straight when McCaffrey and Huisken each made a pair after another technical was called.

Augustana led by as many as 26 points in the last seven minutes of regulation.

The Vikings are 13-0 this season for Saturday games.

The Vikings advance to the semifinals of the NSIC/Sanford Health Men’s Basketball Tournament. They will play Minnesota State at 7:30 p.m. on March 8 at the Taylor Arena in Rochester, Minn.