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AUGUSTANA 78, MACMURRAY 54

JACKSONVILLE — Take away something from the Augustana men’s basketball team and the Vikings aren’t left without options.

That showed here Wednesday evening as the Vikings turned to their veteran backcourt to lead the nation’s third-ranked team to a solid 78-54 non-conference victory over hosting MacMurray.

MacMurray is coached by former Augie assistant Todd Creal, who knows the Vikings system well and always makes it a tough test when these two teams meet.

“He told me after the game that he wasn’t going to let us beat them inside,” said Augie coach Grey Giovanine after his club moved to 6-1 on the season ahead of Saturday’s home date with 8th-ranked Illinois Wesleyan, a 90-88 loser Wednesday to Wheaton.

“They were really committed … when that ball went inside, they really collapsed their defense and our front-line guys really didn’t get many good looks,” said Giovanine, whose used it size for a 45-26 rebounding advantage.

And that was exactly how the game played out. Senior guard Nolan Ebel and Chrishawn Orange combined to shoot 15-of-22 from the field, combining for 41 points. Ebel led Augie’s offense with 21 points and Orange added 20. Off the bench, junior guard Lucas Simon added 10 points.

Their efforts were a relief for the Vikings as both Ebel and Orange had struggled putting up solid numbers the past coupe of games.

“It really was. Both shot it outstanding and with confidence,” said Giovanine, noting a good number of those points came out of the half-court offense. “They were defending under the ball screens and packing things in so we couldn’t go inside. Those guys rose up and got good looks and knocked them down.”

Ebel, especially. He hit five of his six 3-point attempts in the contest. Orange was 5-of-7 from the free-throw line.

Pierson Wofford (seven points) led Augie’s board work with a game-high 11 rebounds and Micah Martin (six points) grabbed eight caroms.

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