Wednesday men: Ebel does it for Augustana

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Nolan Ebel followed his game-winning shot with the game-sealing steal against No. 4 UW-Stevens Point on Wednesday night.
File photo by Dave Hilbert,

Nolan Ebel's big plays lifted No. 5 Augustana to an overtime win over No. 4 UW-Stevens Point. Elsewhere two sets of Tigers were on different ends of upsets and conference play got underway in the MIAC and ARC.

Augustana extended its winning streak against UW-Stevens Point to four games as the Vikings rode Nolan Ebel's heroics to an 86-84 win over the Pointers in overtime. UW-Stevens Point (3-1) held a 72-71 lead with 44 seconds to play in regulation when Canon O'Heron was fouled. He made the first free throw but missed the second, giving the Vikings a chance to tie. Augustana got the ball to Ebel who was fouled and converted both free throws, tying the game at 73. Stevens Point missed a three with seven seconds left in regulation and the teams headed to overtime.

Augustana (4-1) grabbed an 82-80 lead with 1:07 left in the extra period on Chrishawn Orange's three pointer. After Stevens Point tied the game on two free throws by Ethan Bublitz, Ebel drained a jumper to put the Vikings back up by two. The Pointers answered with a missed three by Nate Dodge, but he grabbed his own rebound and attempted another three, getting fouled in the process. Dodge made two of three shots, tying the game at 84. Augustana called timeout, gave the ball to Ebel and watched him hit a leaner with one second left. Stevens Point inbounded the ball, but Ebel stole it, stepped across the arc and ran out the clock.

Ebel finished with 19 points, including 11 from the foul line, and seven assists. Augustana's other four starters also scored double figures, including 18 from Brett Benning. Dodge led all scorers with 40 points, including nine 3-pointers, and O'Heron added 20 for Stevens Point.

The night's other Top 25 battle had a less dramatic finish. No. 21 Marietta rebounded from a slow start against No. 7 Wittenberg and pulled away from the Tigers, 84-74. The Pioneers (6-0) used a 13-0 run midway through the first half to take the lead and never looked back, leading by as many as 23 points in the second half. Marietta center Caleb Hoyng scored 26 points and Kyle Dixon posted a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds). Connor Seipel led Wittenberg (4-1) with 24 points and 13 rebounds.

Sewanee posted one of the most surprising results as the Tigers improved to 7-0 with a convincing 83-70 win over No. 23 Emory. The Tigers shot 54 percent in the second half and held the Eagles (4-2) to 28 percent shooting. Luke Smith had 21 of his game-high 27 points in the second half.

Conference play began in the American Rivers Conference (formerly the IIAC). Cooper Cook and Nate Schimonitz combined for 44 points and No. 1 Nebraska Wesleyan topped Central, 91-83. The Prairie Wolves (7-0, 1-0) had 21 assists versus just eight turnovers. Dubuque dumped crosstown rival and 19th ranked Loras 78-73.

MIAC play aslo began on Wednesday night with Augsburg and St. John's posting convincing home wins over Carleton and Bethel respectively. St. Olaf got 37 points combined from Austin Korba and Troy Diggins Jr. in a 75-67 win at St. Mary's (Minn.).

Montclair State rebounded from its first loss of the season by handing a loss to defending NJAC champion Ramapo, 95-75. Akbar Hoffman hit six 3-pointers on his way to 25 points for the Red Hawks (6-1). William Paterson knocked off No. 24 New Jersey City 88-72 thanks to stellar shooting and strong bench play. The Pioneers (4-3, 1-1) shot 62 percent and got a combined 33 points from reserves Sajimir Asani and Justin Lingat.

Castleton made its Little East Conference debut in an 87-76 loss at home to Plymouth State, which went 2-12 in the LEC ast season. Illinois Tech also lost its conference opener as Benedictine nipped the Scarlet Hawks 52-51 on Kyle Hornacek's free throws with 12 seconds remaining.