Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2013, 8:56 pm
No. 20 Wheaton (12-3, 2-2) at No. 23 Augustana (12-3, 2-2)
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By Tom Johnston, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tonight: No. 20 Wheaton (12-3, 2-2) visits No. 23 Augustana (12-3, 2-2) in a CCIW contest at Augustana's Carver Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. There is no junior-varsity game. Tuning in: This game can be heard on the web at www.augustana.edu/vikingsvideo. Twitter updates: @TJ_DA.
Wheaton: F: Michael Berg, 6-6, Fr. (5.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg) & Peter Smith, 6-6, Soph. (8.4, 5.3); C: Nathan Haynes, 6-6, Jr. (10.1, 11.6); G: Tyler Peters, 6-4, Jr. (19.8, 4.8) & Brayden Teuscher, 6-3, Soph. (13.2, 2.3).
Augustana: F: Tayvian Johnson, 6-6, Fr. (6.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg) & Ben Ryan, 6-5, Fr. (11.5, 6.9); C: Brandon Kunz, 6-7, Sr. (12.4, 6.6); G: Dan Jurgutis, 6-0, Soph. (11.0, 2.9) & Brandon Thompson, 6-1, Soph. (8.7, 2.7).
The series: This is the 123rd meeting between the two schools with Augie holding a 64-58 edge. Augie had won four straight until the Thunder annihilated the Vikings 74-44 in the regular-season finale last February in Wheaton.
Game notes: Augustana will be trying to break a two-game losing skid, having lost on the road at No. 22 Illinois Wesleyan (63-60) and at No. 1 North Central (59-46). ... This should be an interesting match-up with Augie (73.1) and Wheaton (72.5) 1-2 in scoring average per game and 2-3 in scoring defense – Augie allowing 58.3 ppg and the Thunder 61.5. ... Wheaton has the top rebounding margin in the league at +14.2 (10.6-24.7) and Augie is third at +11.5 (12.5-25.8). ... There are some very difficult matchups for the Vikings in this one. Tyler Peters, who leads the league in scoring and is second in assists (5.27 per game), is a guy Augie coach Grey Giovanine says will "initiate the offense and then is probably their most effective post player.'' Starting center Nathan Haynes is leading the league in rebounding and presents problems inside. "Those are two all-conference guys in Peters and Haynes,'' said Giovanine. "They also have some terrific 3-point shooters. It's a tough group to deal with.''
Coaches comments: "This is their first taste of real hard times; two tough road losses to two outstanding teams. The first real adverse experience is what we're trying to overcome. I know it's a long season and a long grind, but it is the first time through it for nine of these guys. You try to not get too high after wins and too low after losses. The biggest concern we have is kind of restoring our confidence and let them know it's the same group that went 12-1. We just had a couple of tough games and have to be ready to go. ... We're ready and going in healthy physically. We'll see about mentally and how we handle the two losses. That will be the key.'' -- Augie's Giovanine
Next: Augie hosts Elmhurst (4-11, 0-4 hosting Carthage tonight) at 7 p.m. Saturday on the back end of a women's/men's doubleheader at the Carver Center. The women tip off at 5 p.m.
-- By Tom Johnston, email@example.com