Vikings conquer Peru State

Vikings take third straight win in overtime shootout against Peru state, win 97-94



The Vikings narrowly beat Peru State Tuesday night in an overtime thriller with a final score of 97-94, earning their third win of the season. 

The Vikings were led by two double-doubles from two starters, Jordan Spencer and Adam Dykman. Spencer racked up 21 points with 10 assists, earning the seventh double-double of his career, while Dykman dropped 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. 

The men’s basketball team has made headway into the 2017-2018 season with a roster full of fresh faces hoping to continue success of years past.  

Six out of 12 players on the roster are new to the program, including one redshirt freshman, three true freshmen and two transfers. 

Despite the influx of new players and graduating 9,150 points in the past two years, expectations remain high, as the Vikings were ranked third overall in the NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The team was picked second overall in the NSIC South Division. 

Head coach Tom Billeter, returning for his 15th season at Augustana, said new players on the bench do not alter his goals for the team. 

“We always have high expectations,” Billeter said. “We expect our guys to compete at a high level, no matter how long they’ve been here.”

Assistant coach Collin Authier, in his fourth season as an assistant at Augustana, said the team culture is built for seasons with plenty of new players in the program.

“There is a lot of teaching right now across the board,” Authier said. “We’re learning our players, the players are learning each other, and they’re learning the coaches. But we’ve built a culture that really handles turnover and graduation well. Guys know what the culture is and they know what’s expected of them.”

Responsibility for instilling that culture falls to the three seniors, guards Spencer and Steven Schaeffer and forward Marcus Asmus, as well as experienced junior guard John Warren.

Spencer, entering the season with a career record of 91-14 after averaging 15.9 points, 7.3 assists, 3.8 rebounds and earning All-NSIC First Team honors in 2016-2017 said he learned the importance of the team identity early in his career and hopes to pass it on to new players.

“It’s important to get guys to buy into the culture that guys before us established,” Spencer said. “We’ve had to carry that on and instill that in the new guys so that they know that it’s like this way, and we’ve been successful with the way we do things.”

That team culture derives from the Vikings’ success over the past few seasons. In the 2015-2016 season, the team won a single-season school record 34 games and captured the first Division II Men’s basketball national championship in school history. In the 2016-2017 season, the team appeared in the NCAA Division II tournament for the third straight year in a row.

The four veterans on the roster, Spencer, Schaeffer, Asmus and Warren, were all a part of the 2016 championship team, and the core four will help fill the starting line up. 

The fifth starter will be sophomore forward Adam Dykman, a transfer from South Dakota State University. Authier said that Dykman, the 2015 Mr. Basketball in Nebraska, has the potential to contribute a lot to the team in this season and the future. 

“Adam just needs to learn our style and get better every day,” Authier said. “He’s got three years of eligibility and the ceiling is phenomenal. He’s athletic as a can be, he’s a competitor, he has a high IQ. When he learns the system, there’s going to be no stopping him.”

Asmus said Dykman has been a great addition to the team so far.

“Adam gelled with the team really quickly,” Asmus said. “He       bought into the culture right away, and he’s just meshed with everyone really well. We’re really lucky to have him here.”

Billeter said the team’s balanced roster extends past the starting five and gives them versatility on the court.

“Offensively, it’s going to be by committee,” Billeter said. “In the first two games, we had different guys step up each night. We have plenty of different guys that can play an important role.”

Billeter says the communal-style offense was boosted by Spencer’s knee surgery in August. Spencer had to sit out until the middle of October, and both Spencer and Billeter say the delay has only strengthened the depth of the roster.

“I think it helped guys learn how to create their own shots,” Spencer said. “Because I think that’s what I bring to the table, is getting people open shots. So guys had to learn how to get their own chances, but now that I’m back and able to get in the offense easily because I’ve been in it for four years, we’re just that much stronger.” 

That offense-by-committee has certainly shown itself in the first three games.

At the Small College Basketball Hall of Fame Classic in Evansville, Ind., the Vikings picked up two wins, beating Southern Indiana 77-73 and Montevallo 88-69. Spencer, Asmus and Warren were all named to the All-Tournament team.

Against Southern Indiana, Asmus led the offense while cleaning the glass, scoring 23 points and snagging 11 rebounds. 

In the battle against Montevallo, Spencer facilitated the game with 15 assists, while also scoring 14 points. Warren was a perfect 8 for 8 from the field, 5 for 5 from the three-point line in the contest.

Authier says the team’s tenacity and preparation are two keys to continue success.

“This team competes really well,” Authier said. “They do a really good job preparing for games. If you continue to improve across the board, those things can go a really long way.”

Schaefer and Spencer say the team has high expectations moving forward.

“I hope to win championships,” said Schaefer. “Whether it’s the NSIC Tournament, Regional Tournament, [or] National Tournament, this is my last year, so I want to go out on top.”

“I really want to win something this year,” Spencer said. “We’ve won something each year—whether that’s a conference title or a national title. But getting some hardware is the main goal. That’ll go a long way to showing the new guys that this program expects success.”

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