As the teams approach the midpoint of MIAC play, St. Thomas and Gustavus are tied for first, with Augsburg and Saint Johnís locked up in third place and six teams bottled up within three games of each other in the race for the final two spots in the MIAC Playoffs.
GUSTAVUS 56, ST. THOMAS 51
The Gusties used a stellar defensive effort to topple the Tommies, 56-51, before an enthusiastic crowd of 1827 at Gus Young Court in St. Peter. The win lifts Gustavus into sole possession of first place in the MIAC. The loss ends USTís league record 32-game win streak against MIAC teams.
Seth Anderson played a pivotal role in GACís success, as he led all scorers with 17 points. After UST took a 51-49 lead late in the game, Anderson coolly drained a pair of free throws and later followed with what proved to be the game-winning basket. He succinctly summarized the night: ďThis was just a fun game. If youíre a college basketball fan, this was the place to be.Ē (Listen to Andersonís full comments on the game here)
However, it was a team effort that won the game for the Gusties. The held UST scoreless over the final 3:21 and forced St. Thomas to commit a season-high 19 turnovers while mishandling the ball just 11 times. They recorded eight steals and held UST to a season-low 51 points. Possession after possession, Gustavus patiently worked the ball until they found a good shot. (Hear Gustavus Coach Mark Hanson discuss the win here)
Statistically, the game was as even as the final score indicates. Gustavus shot 40.8% from the floor for the night, hitting 40.9% in the second half and 40.7% in the first. The Gusties drained 33.3% of their treys but were only 11-for-19 (57.9%) from the charity stripe. St. Thomas shot 40.0% from the field, converting 40.9% of their shots in the first half and 38.9% in the second. The Tommies converted 81.3% (13-of-16) of their free throws but were only 31.6% from behind the arc. UST held a 34-27 edge in rebounds, offsetting the turnover differential.
Gustavus jumped to a quick 5-0 lead and extended that margin to nine, 14-5, on an all-net three-pointer by Tyler Grey. They nudged the lead to 10 with 7:48 remaining in the opening half as Phil Wirtjes found the hole.
St. Thomas regrouped and rolled off an 11-0 run to take the lead. Alex Healy capped the run with an all-net three from the top of the key, putting the Tommies on top, 21-20. After Jesse Van Sickle and Healy traded long three-pointers, the two teams headed to the intermission knotted 26-26.
The second half started similar to the first, with GAC staking a five-point lead behind a triple from Anderson. The game remained tight throughout the final 20 minutes. Gustavus enjoyed a six-point margin at the 13-minute mark after a jumper by Anderson, but UST countered with a booming three by Tyler Nicolai and a lay-up by Teddy Archer to mitigate the margin.
St Thomas took the lead on a three by Nicolai, who added another trey shortly after to put the Toms in front, 51-49. Unfortunately, those were USYís final points of the night.
Anderson tied the game with a pair from the charity line and followed with the game-winning basket. The Gusties drained four of six free throws in the final minutes, including a clutch pair by Van Sickle, who also added back-to-back crucial steals to seal the win.
Nicolai led St. Thomas with 14 points, including four three-pointers. Archer posted nine points, while Healy and Josh Peltier each tallied eight. Healy and Peltier led USTís effort off the glass with six rebounds each, and Healy doled out a game-high four assists.
In addition to Andersonís 17 points, the Gusties showed balanced scoring. Van Sickle and Wirtjes each tallied nine points, while Ryan McPartland added eight. Paul Blacklock pulled down a team-best six rebounds, while McPartland and Sam Paulson each grabbed five.
ST. THOMAS 77, SAINT MARYíS 68
The Tommies, behind a 14-2 run late in the game, pulled away from the pesky Cardinals for a 77-68 win. The victory was USTís 32nd in a row against MIAC teams and was USTís 44th consecutive win over SMU.
Hot shooting, including 10-of-17 from three-point range and a perfect night (18-for-18) from the free throw line, kept Saint Maryís in striking distance of the lead for the first 33 minutes of play. The Cards made the final six three-pointers they attempted in the first half to head into the break trailing 37-35.
Twice in the second half, UST pulled out to a seven-point lead and seemed poised to break the game open. Each time, SMU trimmed the gap to a bucket, but could not get closer. The third time proved to be the charm for UST. Anders Halverson kicked off the big run by draining three of four free throws in a 20 second stretch. Brady Ervin capped the 14-2 blitz with a steal and a breakaway layup, giving UST a 77-63 lead.
The Tommies, who shot 47.5% from the field and 47.1% from three-point range, were led by Tyler Nicolai, who scored 16 points while doling out five assists. He also had three steals. Joe Scott tallied 13 points, while Alex Healy chipped in 11. Halverson finished with nine points, seven rebounds and five assists and Sam Eicher added nine points off the bench.
Will Wright led the Cardinals, scoring 16. Pat Freeman added 15 points and five assists and Thomas Sims posted 12 points. Chris Palmer put up a double-double, scoring 13 with 11 rebounds. SMU held a 32-29 edge in rebounds but committed 19 turnovers while forcing only eight.
AUGSBURG 85, BETHEL 73
The Auggies, with four starters scoring in double figures, led from start to finish and rolled past the Royals 85-73. Jon Cassens, who put up 23 points, led the Augsburg attack.
Augsburg used four points by Cory Polta to craft a 10-2 run over a four-minute span early in the first half to take their first double-digit lead, 21-11. The Auggies extended the lead to as many as 15 points in the first half before taking a 37-25 margin into the break. Cassens had eight points and Polta had seven points and five rebounds in the first half.
Daniel Baah tallied seven points in the first 4:20 of the second half, helping the Royals cut the lead to eight points, 46-38. Augsburg responded with a 17-4 run -- with Cassens and Matthew Quammen scoring six points apiece in the stretch -- to take its biggest lead of the game, 63-42 with 10:50 remaining. The Augsburg advantage was not cut below eight points the rest of the way.
Baah led the Royals with 28 points. Nate Robertson had a monster night, scoring 23 while grabbing 14 rebounds. Greg Meyer added 10 points and Rob Lang posted nine points, five assists and three steals. Bethel committed only 10 turnovers and shot 54.3% from the field in the second half. However, they were an icy 23.1% from three-point range.
Cassens doled out eight assists and hauled in six rebounds to go with his 23 points. David Olson tallied 15 points, and Cory Flavin and Polta each added 11. Polta had three blocks and Flavin dished out five assists. Andy Grzesiak-Grimm added nine points and seven rebounds. Augsburg held a 37-29 edge in rebounds and shot 53.8% from the field for the night, including 57.7% in the second half. They drained 11 of 19 three-pointers (57.9%).
CARLETON 76, MACALESTER 34
Behind torrid shooting from the floor, the Knights rolled to an easy 76-34 win over the Scots, the largest MIAC win margin in school history. Ten players scored for Carleton. The 34 points given up was the fewest points the Knights have yielded in 508 games coached by Guy Kalland.
Carleton shot 56.7% in the first half and 54.4% for the game. They were nearly as hot from behind the arc, hitting at a 44.4% clip. They were led by Jeremy Sutherland, who scored 16 points with five assists. Tom Sawatzke, who canned seven of eight shots, tallied a career-high 15 points. Blaise Davis added 11 points and five assists. Carter Biewen grabbed six rebounds to lead the Knights off the glass; he added seven points.
The Scots host just 31.6% from the field and committed 30 turnovers. Colin Keeley and Pierce Peters each scored six points to lead the offense.
Carleton jumped to a fast 7-2 lead. The lead was only four, 17-*13, when Davis rippled the net for three, igniting a 17-2 outburst that gave the Knights a comfortable edge. They took a 40-20 lead into the locker room and never looked back, coasting to the win
HAMLINE 88, SAINT JOHNíS 75
The Pipers, behind double-doubles by Ray Brown and Carl Hipp, beat the Johnnies 88-75 for their sixth win in the last seven games. The loss snapped a five game win skein for SJU.
Brown had 26 points and 13 rebounds Ė 12 of them defensive. Hipp rang up 21 points and pulled down 14 boards, 10 on defense. He also blocked five shots in the game. Jordan Schmidt and Nick Carroll added 10 apiece. Carroll also dished out seven assists in the game. The Pipers enjoyed a 44-31 edge in rebounds, and committed only 11 turnovers while forcing 21 Johnnie miscues. Hamline shot well, torching the net at a 54.4% clip for the night, including 53.8% from behind the rainbow.
Aaron Burtzel, who tallied 15 points in the first half, finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds to pace Saint Johnís. He also had five assists and a pair of steals. Andy Burns added 13 points while Andrew Latzke and Sam Blank each chipped in nine. The Johnnies shot well in the first half, converting 54.3% of their shots but were a chilly 32.4% in the second half.
The Pipers streaked to an early 11-4 lead but SJU chiseled away and soon took the lead, 21-19, on a jumper by Aaron Barmore. Hamline regained the edge on a trey by Schmidt, and expanded that margin to as many as seven before settling for a four point halftime lead. Hamline used a 19-11 run early in the second half to extend the lead to 13. They kept the margin in double figure the rest of the way, wrapping up the win.
Hamline improves to 5-4 in MIAC play and 9-5 overall. The Pipers play three road games in the coming week. They are at St. Thomas on Monday, at Augsburg on Wednesday and close the week at Macalester.
ST. OLAF 75, SAINT MARYíS 69
The Oles used a strong second half to pull away from the Cardinals. They shot a sizzling 78.9% from the field in the second half en route to a 75-69 win.
After a close first half that saw the teams tied at the intermission, the Oles opened the second half with a 9-01 run to take control of the game. Stu Neville accounted for seven of those nine points, part of a 15-point second half for Neville. They extended their margin to as many as 15 and held off the persistent Cards down the stretch.
Both teams handled the ball well, as St. Olaf committed just seven turnovers and Saint Maryís committed nine. The Cards shot a solid 45.2% from the floor, but the Oles were torrid, draining 54.9% of the shots.
Neville led the Oles with 19 points and five rebounds. Bobby Fong added 16 points and six boards, while Alfred Jaryan chipped in 15 points and five rebounds.
Chris Palmer posted a double-double to lead SMU. He scored a game high 21 points with 13 rebounds. Lukas Holland added 14 points while Will Wright chipped in 12 points with four assists.
Augsburg 73, Carleton 70 (2 overtimes)
Ben Flavin rippled the net on a running jumper with 0.7 seconds left in the second overtime, lifting the Auggies to a thrilling 73-70 win over the Knights.
The game was a back-and-forth battle, featuring six lead changes and five ties. Neither team was able to claim a lead of more than 10 points. The Auggies led most of the first half, but never by more than seven as they took a 26-23 edge into the break.
Carleton opened the second half with an 11-2 run, fueled by seven points from Seth Jonker, to take a 34-28 lead. Augsburg battled back to tie the game and later erupted for a 12-2 spurt, highlighted by a pair of treys by Matthew Quammen, to stake a 50-40 lead. The Knights retaliated with a 12-0 run of their own, taking the lead, 55-53. Jon Cassens hit a pair of free throws with 1:23 to play, putting Augsburg on top 59-58. Bryan Rosett canned the second of a pair of free throws at the 1:05 mark to tie the game. Both teams missed opportunities to win the game in the last minute, but came up short.
The first overtime was a defensive struggle and both teams tallied just four points. In the second OT, the Auggies took the lead on a long three by Flavin and pushed the margin to three on a pair of free throws by Brett Sorenson. Flavin later added a free throw, sandwiched by layups by Jeremy Sutherland, the second of which tied the game 70-70 with :08 left. Flavin followed with his game-winner and Cassens canned a free throw to ice the win.
The Knights, who shot 40.9% for the day, held a 45-43 edge in rebounds, but committed 19 turnovers while forcing only 11. They were led by Jonkerís 20 points. He added six rebounds, three blocks and a steal before fouling out late in the first OT. Sutherland added 18 points while dishing out seven assists, and Rosett posted a double-double, scoring 13 and snaring 17 boards. As well as blocking four shots.
Carleton is now 3-6 in MIAC play and 7-7 overall. The week ahead sees them hosting Bethel on Monday, traveling to Gustavus on Wednesday and returning home for a Saturday match with Saint Johnís.
Augsburg was led by Marcus Brumm, who scored 13 and pulled down seven rebounds. Cassens added 12 points, six rebounds, five assists and a steal. Sorenson and Quammen each finished with 11 points; Sorenson added six rebounds. Andy Grzesiak-Grimm had a team-best nine rebounds before fouling out; he also blocked a pair of shots.
With the win, Augsburg improves to 6-3 and a tie for third in the MIAC. Overall, they are 11-3. The Auggies travel to Saint Maryís on Monday before hosting Hamline on Wednesday. They enjoy a bye over the weekend.
BETHEL 54, GUSTAVUS 52
The Royals snapped a five-game losing streak behind a strong defensive effort and gave the Gusties their first MIAC loss of the season with a 54-52 win at Robertson Center.
After a tightly contested opening 17 minutes of play, Bethel closed the first half with a 7-0 run to take a 34-27 edge into the break. They extended that margin to 10 in the early part of the second half. After a rally by GAC cut the gap to 41-37, the Royals reeled off six consecutive points to regain a double-digit margin, 47-37, with a little over four minutes to play.
The Gusties erupted on a 15-2 run, capped by a three-pointer by Phil Wirtjes, and gained a 52-49 lead with 1:30 remaining. Bethelís defense held GAC scoreless the rest of the game. Chris Vavra drained three of four free throws around a breaking layup by Daniel Baah, giving the Royals the upset win.
Gustavus shot just 34.5% for the day, including 30.8% in the second half. They connected on just 20.0% of their three-point attempts. GAC held a 34-31 edge off the glass. Ryan McPartland, who scored 15 points while grabbing nine rebounds, led the Gusties. Wirtjes added 10 points, four rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals.
The Gusties are now 8-1 in league play and tied for first. Overall, they are 10-4. They travel to Saint Johnís on Monday and to Concordia on Saturday, with a home game against Carleton on Wednesday.
Vavra, returning from an ankle injury, paced the Royals with 13 points. He added five rebounds and three assists. Nate Robertson tallied 11 points with five rebounds, while Baah and Greg Meyer each chipped in nine points.
Bethel is now 2-7 in MIAC play and 68 on the season. Monday, the Royals play at Carleton. They return home for games with Saint Johnís and Saint Maryís.
SAINT MARYíS 71, CONCORDIA 55
Behind another strong performance by freshman Chris Palmer, the Cardinals rolled by the Cobbers, 71-55, in Moorhead. SMU, which led from start to finish, shot 47.1% from the floor while limiting Concordia to 36.7%.
Palmer narrowly missed his third double-double of the week, finishing with 26 points and nine rebounds. He drained five three-pointers in seven attempts and was 9-of-13 from the field. Lukas Holland added 21 points and Will Wright chipped in 13.
John Fraase was the lone Cobber to reach double figures, scoring 12. He grabbed eight rebounds, as Concordia out-rebounded SMU 33-27.
Saint Maryís broke to a 10-2 lead in the opening minutes of play. Concordia chipped away and tied the game at the 10-minute mark on a layup by Ebo Nana-Kweson but Holland responded with a booming three to restore the Cardsí lead. Fraase later tied the game on a pair of free throws, but Palmer coolly drained a three.
Leading by three at the half, SMU pulled out to a seven point lead early in the second stanza and never was threatened after that. Their lead grew to as many as 21 before Concordia scored the gameís final five points.
Saint Maryís improves to 3-6 in MIAC play and 5-9 overall with the win. The Cards host Augsburg and Macalester before closing the week at Bethel.
Concordia is now 4-5 in league action and 8-6 on the year. The Cobbers travel to St. Olaf on Monday and then return home to host league leaguers St. Thomas and Gustavus.
ST. OLAF 67, MACALESTER 62
The Oles, behind a game-closing 7-0 run, overcame the Scots 67-62, denying Mac its first-ever win in the Leonard Center. The loss extends Macalesterís MIAC losing streak to 38.
Macalester led most of the game, but never by more than seven. The game was tied seven times. The Scots opened the game with an 11-4 spurt. They maintained the lead until Alfred Jaryan completed a three-point play at the 3:42 mark of the first half, lifting St. Olaf to a 25-24 lead. Holden Bigler-Johnson responded with a three for the Scots, who went on to take a 36-34 lead into the half.
St. Olafís Mark Torell opened the second half with a three-pointer, but Paul Richie responded with one for Mac. The Scots grew their lead to seven midway through the final stanza but the Oles used an 8-2 run to trim the gap to one. However, three free throws by Bobby Fong, a pair of Christy tosses by Jaryan and a bucket by Nate Krosschell powered the Oles over the final minutes to the win.
For Macalester, Colin Keeley led the way with 15 points and seven rebounds. Richie added 10 points, three steals and four assists. Pierce Peters had nine points and four steals while Jerry Kraus had nine rebounds and six points.
The Scots are 0-10 in MIAC play and 2-13 overall. After a bye on Monday, they travel to Saint Johnís before hosting Hamline on Saturday.
For St. Olaf, Fong set the pace with 17 points. Torell added 14 and Jaryan chipped in 12. Jaryan added three assists and three steals. Stu Neville had a team-high six rebounds, while Krosschell added five boards.
The Oles, who are in the thick of the playoff chase, now stand 5-4 in conference action. They are 7-7 overall. They host Concordia on Monday and St. Thomas on Saturday, enjoying a bye on Wednesday.
ST. THOMAS 70, SAINT JOHNíS 69 (Overtime)
The Tommies took advantage of SJU fouls and converted 21-of -28 free throws, including four by Tommy Hannon in the second overtime, and nipped the Johnnies 70-69 in overtime.
The game was SJU coach Jim Smithís 1200th game and was Steve Fritzís 795th game as UST head coach.UST holds a 96-46 lead in the rivalry, and is 44-24 against SJU under Fritz.
UST outscored SJU 24-13 in points off turnovers, forcing 15 SJU miscues while committing 12. The Tommies struggled from the floor in the second half, shooting a frigid 25.9%, negating a nice 52.2% in the first half and 50% in the overtimes. UST was a paltry 30.4% from three-point range, but sizzled the nets from the charity stripe, which proved to be the difference.
SJU out-rebounded the Tommies 35-34 and was more consistent in shooting. They shot 46.6% on the night, including 50.0% in the second half. The Johnnies were nine-of-18 from three-point land but only four-for-eight from the free throw line.
The Jays started strong, with back-to-back threes by Chris Schwartz and Andy Burns. Joe Scott countered with a trey of his own, but SJU opened the game with a 14-3 run. The Tommies responded with a 10-0 run, but SJU volleyed back with a 12-4 run to hold a 26-17 lead at the eight minute mark. An NBA-range three by Tyler Nicolai ignited a 20-2 run that sent UST into the intermission with a 37-31 lead.
UST opened the second half with a 14-6 run and seemed poised to turn the game into a rout. However, the Johnnies reeled off 13 unanswered points, pulling within one, 51-50. UST used a pair of free throws by Scott and traditional three-point plays by Nicolai and Sam Eicher to vault to a 59-50 cushion. SJU held UST scoreless over the final 4:26 of regulation and tied the game behind five points from Schwartz.
Hannon and Nicolai provided the firepower in the OT, as Hannon tallied six points, including four three throws and a layup with 0:13 left that gave UST a 70-66 lead. Burns found nothing but net for a long three with 0:01 to play but the Tommies successfully inbounded the ball to seal the win.
Schwarz led the Johnnies with 19 points, including five threes. He also had three assists and three steals. Burns finished with 12 points on four treys and had four assists. Aaron Barmore posted 10 points. Aaron Burtzel ended the night with 13 rebounds, seven points and three assists.
Saint Johnís is now 6-3 in MIAC play and tied with Augsburg for third place. The Johnnies are 9-5 overall. They host Gustavus on Monday and round out the week with games at Bethel and Carleton.
Nicolai led all scorers with 20 points. He doled out five assists and posted four steals. Hannon ended up with 14 points and five rebounds. Alex Healy put up 13 points, with four assists and a pair of steals. Scott finished with 11 points, including the 1,000th point of his UST career.
St. Thomas improves to 8-1 and shares first place in the MIAC with Gustavus. The Tommies host Hamline on Monday before traveling to Concordia and St. Olaf.