NCC 87- AUGUSTANA 67
It's tough winning on an opponent's Senior Day, but we managed to pull this one off despite our injury woes! After getting down 10-3 early, we never lost our composure and quickly tied things up at 12-12, playing a back and forth game most of the first half until we pulled ahead 38-32 at intermission.
This was one of the few games where the opponent let us have open looks from the arc, as our 65 three-point attempts indicates. (We got so many good looks in the first half I don't think we knew what to do, and were cold as ice early on!) My guess is that Augie's coach decided to try and take away our inside game using their standard defensive plan of doubling down on the post player. This allowed us to go inside-out for wide open looks, which we finally started connecting on late in the first half. So, our top post player was held to 8 points, a tradeoff we can live with when we hit 17 threes.
The most gratifying aspect of our performance was reflected by my brief congratulatory comment to the team in the locker room afterward: "That was great team basketball!" No matter the style, playing together is the key to success. I was surprised to see we were credited with only 16 assists for the game on the official box score. Given our 17 three point baskets, which are always the result of an assist (we almost never shoot off the dribble when we attempt a three), my guess that the rule of the road applied here: the home team statisticians make the rules. We most likely had closer to 21-24 assists but with a 20 point win, who's quibbling?
We have the day off on Monday as our season comes down to the last two conference games next Saturday and the following Wednesday. We sit alone in fourth place with a 5-7 league record, and if we hold on will qualify for the four-team CCIW tournament for only the second time in school history. By winning both games, we'll assure ourselves of the first winning season in eight years, and only the fourth since 1990.
So, after losing 13 straight CCIW games and finishing dead last a year ago, it would redeem ourselves!