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April 1, 2006

2005-06 MEN'S BASKETBALL REVIEW

2005-06 MEN’S BASKETBALL REVIEW

 

Behind MVP year from All-American Rick Harrigan, Vikings surprise with CCIW title and “Sweet Sixteen” appearance in NCAA Division III national tournament

 

Senior shooting guard Rick Harrigan (Brother Rice HS, Chicago, Ill.) shot his way into stardom during the 2005-06 men’s basketball season and in the process took his Augustana teammates along for the ride. Harrigan overcame a career that had been pockmarked by injuries and setbacks and in the glorious winter of his final collegiate season he erased all those bad memories. Good ones now replace them as he led the Vikings to a 23-6 season and a myriad of honors.

 

Picked second by the coaches in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin in the pre-season poll, head coach Grey Giovanine’s team used a key three game stretch at the end of January as a springboard to the league title. It started on January 21 with a home game against a North Central team that was 14-1 at the time and ranked 10th in the nation according to D3hoops.com. By the end of the evening Harrigan had notched 29 points and his team claimed an 85-79 victory.

 

Two crucial road games loomed and the first was in Bloomington, Illinois against Illinois Wesleyan on Wednesday, January 25. The Titans had won the previous three CCIW titles and were the preseason favorite to do so once again. Ranked number one in the nation heading into January, Wesleyan was ranked fifth and Augustana seventh when the two teams squared off at the Shirk Center. Trailing by as many as 13 points in the second half, the Vikings clawed their way to a 57-54 win to go to 17-1 overall and 7-0 in the league.

 

Few people gave Augustana much of a chance heading into a road game at Elmhurst on Sunday, January 29. The Bluejays had been in and out of the NCAA Division III top 25 throughout the year and were 13-6 overall at game time. Showing the grit and resolve that would carry them time and again, the Vikings pulled out a 63-60 victory with Nate Swetalla (Davenport Central HS, Bettendorf, Iowa) tipping in a rebound of a Harrigan miss with just four seconds left. That made it 61-60 and Drew Wessels (Bettendorf HS, Bettendorf, Iowa) stole the inbound pass and made a pair of free throws to account for the final margin.

 

Those eight days were a microcosm of the entire season. Giovanine’s team wasn’t given much chance by the experts but somehow, someway was able to come up with the winning formula. It all added up to a 23-6 overall record, the sixth highest victory total in the history of the program. The CCIW title, achieved with an 11-3 record, was the 10th for the Vikings and the NCAA Division III playoff berth was the 20th postseason appearance in school history.

 

Harrigan was in the center of all of it as he led the team in scoring with 621 points in 28 games for an average of 22.2 points per game. He is now tied for third on Augustana’s single season scoring list with John Laing, who also scored 621 points in 1972-73. He nailed 65 of 151 three point field goal attempts and is fifth on the school’s single season list for three point field goals made and sixth in attempts. A first team all-conference selection and “Player of the Year” in the CCIW, Harrigan finished his career fourth in Augustana history in three point field goals (131), fourth in three point field goal attempts (328) and 10th in three point field goal percentage (.399).

 

Harrigan and fellow senior Jay McAdams-Thornton (Moline HS, Moline, Ill.) both finished their respective careers as members of the 1,000 point club. Harrigan finished with 1,063 points and is tied with Paul Lauritzen (1950-54) for 17th while McAdams-Thornton ended with 1,050 points and is tied for 18th place with Chet Jacks (1975-79).

 

Harrigan raked in the honors during the post season, winning second team NCAA Division III All-American honors from both D3hoops.com and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). He was the Midwest Region’s “Player of the Year” as well.

 

The Vikings were riding high after defeating Carthage 87-80 behind Harrigan’s 37 points on February 4 in the Carver PE Center. That win put Augustana at 20-1 overall and 10-0 in the CCIW and the national polls that week had the Blue & Gold ranked third. A knee to Harrigan’s thigh in the first half of a game at Wheaton on February 8 nearly brought the whole season crashing down. The Thunder defeated the Vikings 64-60 and three nights later, on February 11, Millikin made it two in a row with a 73-71 win in Decatur. Harrigan did not play against Millikin and heading into a home showdown with Illinois Wesleyan on February 15 his status was uncertain.

 

In a “game for the ages” the Vikings beat the Titans 93-85 before a packed house in the Carver PE Center. The game was tied 78-78 at the end of regulation and in the overtime a three point field goal by reserve Pat Brusveen (Neuqua Valley HS, Naperville, Ill.) put Augustana up to stay at 83-80 with just less than three minutes to play. Harrigan scored six points down the stretch and the Vikings clinched the outright CCIW title with the win, setting off a wild celebration after the final buzzer.

 

After a first round loss in the CCIW tournament, Augustana still received a host spot in the NCAA Division III tournament and the Vikings responded with wins over Buena Vista (71-66) and Wisconsin-Stout (77-70) to advance to the “Sweet Sixteen”. In keeping with the theme of the season, adversity hit during the week preceding the NCAA tournament when Wessels, the starting point guard, was diagnosed with pneumonia the week before the regional. Without Wessels, the burden of running the team fell on the shoulders of sophomore Jordan Delp (Mount Carroll HS, Mount Carroll, Ill.) and he responded well.

 

In the opening round of the NCAA tournament on March 3, Delp hit four three point field goals in the first half and ended the game with 13 points, five rebounds, six assists and one steal in 27 minutes as Augustana defeated Buena Vista 71-66 to advance to the championship the next night.

 

The opponent for the regional title was Wisconsin-Stout, a team that had defeated the Vikings 70-66 back on December 29. This time around Harrigan broke free for 24 points, including an eight for eight performance at the free throw line as Augustana scored an impressive 77-70 victory.

 

With the win over Stout, the Vikings advanced to the “Sweet 16” for the sectional, which was held at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. Augustana drew Puget Sound and despite breaking out to an 18-11 lead early in the contest, struggled against the relentless pressure defense of the Loggers and fell 92-86. Harrigan ended his career with 21 points and McAdams-Thornton scored 10 as the two seniors pulled off their Viking uniforms for the final time.

 

Despite the defeat, it was a season of unquestionable success as the Vikings went 23-6, the school’s highest victory total since a 24-7 campaign in 1992-93 ended with a second place finish in the NCAA Division III national tournament. Only five other teams in Augustana history have ever been able to accumulate more than 23 wins in a single season. Giovanine’s team won the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin with an 11-3 league mark and captured the title for the second time in the last four years and the 10th time in school history. The Vikings also appeared in the NCAA Division III playoffs for the first time since 1993. It was the 19th post-season appearance in school history.

 

Giovanine was selected as the CCIW’s “Coach of the Year” and he was also the NCAA Division III “Coach of the Year” in Illinois as chosen by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association. He has compiled quite a record at Augustana, with a mark of 120-59 (.670) since taking over as the head coach prior to the 1999-00 season. He is 63-35 (.643) in the CCIW during that same time. If you throw out his first season with the Vikings, which ended 10-15 overall and 4-10 in the league, he can point to a glossy record of 110-44 and 59-25 over the past six campaigns. His team won the conference championship in 2002-03 and again this year. The Vikings were second in the CCIW in 2001-02 and 2003-04 and fourth in 2001-02 and 2004-05.

 

His teams have been outstanding at home, going 71-14 (.835) overall and 41-8 (.837) in the CCIW. Over the past six seasons the Vikings have been 64-9 overall (.877) and 37-5 (.881) in the league. This is the second time in the past four seasons that Giovanine has been honored by the IBCA as its NCAA Division III “Coach of the Year”. He won the same award in 2002-03 after his team went 20-5.

 

Not surprisingly, Harrigan was selected as Augustana’s Most Valuable Player after the season ended. Wessels was the Most Valuable Defensive Player and sophomore Dain Swetalla (Pleasant Valley HS, Bettendorf, Iowa) was the winner of the Leading Rebounder award. Delp picked up junior varsity MVP honors.

 

2005-06 COLLEGE CONFERENCE OF ILLINOIS & WISCONSIN FINAL STANDINGS

STANDINGS

CCIW

 

 

OVERALL

 

 

TEAM

WON

LOSS

.PCT

WON

LOSS

.PCT

AUGUSTANA

11

3

.786

23

6

.793

North Central

9

5

.643

22

6

.786

Illinois Wesleyan

9

5

.643

25

7

.781

Elmhurst

9

5

.643

17

9

.654

Wheaton

7

7

.500

11

14

.440

Carthage

6

8

.429

10

15

.400

Millikin

3

11

.214

10

15

.400

North Park

2

12

.143

4

21

.160

 

2005-06 AUGUSTANA MEN’S BASKETBALL SUPERLATIVES

CCIW CHAMPIONS: 11-3 record for 10th CCIW title in school history

NCAA DIVISION III TOURNAMENT: Sweet 16 appearance with victories over Buena Vista (71-66) and Wisconsin-Stout (77-70)

NCAA DIVISION III FINAL RANKING: 11th by D3hoops.com

CCIW “PLAYER OF THE YEAR”: Rick Harrigan

CCIW ALL-CONFERENCE: Rick Harrigan – first team…Jay McAdams-Thornton – second team…Drew Wessels – third team.

CCIW “COACH OF THE YEAR”: Grey Giovanine

NCAA DIVISION III ALL-AMERICA – D3HOOPS.COM: Rick Harrigan – second team

NCAA DIVISION III ALL-AMERICA – NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BASKETBALL COACHES: Rick Harrigan – second team

NCAA DIVISION III MIDWEST REGION “PLAYER OF THE YEAR”: Rick Harrigan

NCAA DIVISION III ALL MIDWEST REGION: Rick Harrigan – first team

ILLINOIS BASKETBALL COACHES ASSOCIATION DIVISION III “COACH OF THE YEAR”: Grey Giovanine

ILLINOIS BASKETBALL COACHES ASSOCIATION “HALL OF FAME”: Larry Schulte, assistant coach in his first year

NCAA DIVISION III RANKING – INDIVIDUAL SCORING: Rick Harrigan – 16th at 22.2 points per game

NCAA DIVISION III RANKING – TEAM WINNING PERCENTAGE: 22nd at .793 (23-6)

CCIW STATISTICAL LEADER – TEAM SCORING DEFENSE: First with 67.2 points allowed per game (941 points in 14 league games)

CCIW STATISTICAL LEADER – INDIVIDUAL SCORING: Rick Harrigan – 1st at 21.4 points per game (278 points in 13 league games)

CCIW STATISTICAL LEADER – INDIVIDUAL THREE POINT FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE: Pat Brusveen – 1st at .488 (21-43 in 14 league games)

CCIW PLAYER OF THE WEEK: 12/05/05 – Rick Harrigan…12/12/05 – Rick Harrigan…01/30/06 – Nate Swetalla

1000 POINT CLUB: Rick Harrigan – 1,063 points – 17th on all-time list…Jay McAdams-Thornton – 1,050 points – 18th on all-time list

AUGUSTANA TEAM AWARDS

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Rick Harrigan

BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Drew Wessels

BEST REBOUNDER: Dain Swetalla

JUNIOR VARSITY MVP: Jordan Delp