Babson's Nick Comenale (21) guards Augustana's Nolan Ebel during the second half of the NCAA Division III national championship game Saturday in Salem, Va.


Augie challenges Flannery

SALEM, Va. — In his final college game, Augustana senior Jacob Johnston forced Babson all-American Josh Flannery to work for his game-high 23 points and the NCAA Division III championship.

Flannery went 7-of-20 from the field in the Beavers’ 79-78 win over Augustana, dealing with defensive pressure initially from Johnston and Brett Benning and in the second half from Chrishawn Orange.

“He’s a tough player. He can do a lot of things and he was the test we expected him to be,’’ Johnston said. “We did what we could against him. It was a one-point game, which makes it tough to accept. We were so close.’’

Augustana coach Grey Giovanine said the Vikings’ objective was to get Flannery out of his comfort zone.

“He’s the D-III national player of the year and you’re not going to stop him. You want to slow him down a bit, make him work,’’ Giovanine said. “For the most part, we did a decent job. He’s a tough assignment, a tremendous player.’’

Orange, Ebel honored: Two Vikings earned spots on the all-tournament team.

Sophomores Chrishawn Orange and Nolan Ebel were named to the five-player team which also included Flannery, selected as the Final Four most valuable player, as well as Babson’s Isaiah Nelsen and Williams’ Daniel Aronowitz.

Still winless: Saturday’s loss leaves Augustana still searching for the program’s first NCAA championship in men’s basketball.

The title game appearance was the fourth for the Vikings in NCAA play, and the second in three seasons.

— Steve Batterson