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MIAC Men's Basketball Week Six: UST Pulling Away, 4-Way Logjam for Second
by Rich Mies, CSN Mapping the MIAC Columnist
Week Six of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular season was packed full, with 15 games over three days. League leader St. Thomas won three times, all on the road, to remain unblemished. They are the last unbeaten team in Division III and are likely to assume the top spot in the national polls. Augsburg won twice to vault into second place, setting up a showdown with UST this coming Wednesday. Bethel won its three games on the week, and there were many games with dramatic finishes.
AROUND THE LEAUGE
The Tommies remained unbeaten, winning three road games. They beat Hamline 64-59, Concordia 83-61 and St. Olaf 73-61. They are the last unbeaten team in Division III.
Monday, they held off the pesky Pipers behind clutch shooting from Joe Scott and a timely three by Tyler Nicolai. UST never opened up a lead larger than seven points as Hamline doggedly battled them every step of the way. Scott, drained a trey to open the second half and give UST a seven-point lead. Later, the Pipers rallied to within one and threatened to take the lead before Nicolai coolly sliced the net from three-point range. The Tommies were whistled for 20 fouls, but held a 29-24 edge off the glass. They shot 52.2% from the floor in the second half and 48.8% for the night. Scott led the way with 15 points while Nicolai added 10. Lonnie Robinson added nine points and a game-best eight rebounds.
Wednesday, the Toms made the long trip to Concordia. Trailing by one midway through the first half, the Tommies took the lead for good on a layup by Anders Halverson. That kicked off a 15-4 outburst, part of a 30-11 run that closed the first half with UST on top 41-23. The Cobbers pulled within ten midway through the second half, before Alex McCoy muscled in six consecutive points and Scott followed with a booming try to but the lead back to 19. Behind the inside play of McCoy, Brady Ervin and Halverson, the Tommies held a 52-22 scoring advantage in the paint. They shot 61.4% from the floor for the night, including a sizzling 64.3% in the first half. UST committed just nine turnovers, while forcing 18 Cobber miscues. Thirteen Tommies scored, led by McCoy with 14. Scott and Halverson each netted 12. Ervin added eight points and a team-high five rebounds.
The Tommies led from start to finish on Saturday, sailing past St. Olaf. UST shot 61.3% from the field in the first half while their defense limited the Oles to just 28.6% shooting. The Tommies jumped to a quick 12-2 lead, with McCoy providing three of the first six buckets. The lead grew to 16 by the midpoint of the half and stayed in double figures the rest of the game. UST went scoreless over the final two minutes, allowing the Oles to cut the margin from 19 to 12. Thirteen players scored for UST, which held a 40-20 advantage in scoring in the paint. McCoy, who made his first seven attempts, led all scorers with 16. Viau added 11 points and five rebounds. Halverson led UST off the glass with eight rebounds and added seven points. St Thomas held a 33-19 edge in rebounds.
St. Thomas improves to 12-0 in MIAC play and 17-0 overall. They are the only unbeaten team in Division III and will likely move into the #1 ranking in the upcoming d3hoops.com poll. The Tommies continue a daunting road stretch, with games at Augsburg on Wednesday and at Macalester on Saturday.
The Auggies moved into second place as they beat Saint Mary’s 84-64 and topped Hamline 83-67 before enjoying a bye to wrap up the week.
Monday, the Auggies jumped off to an 11-0 start against Saint Mary’s. They extended the margin to 26-6 midway through the opening half and took a 44-26 lead into the intermission. They never allowed SMU closer than 18 in the second half. The Auggies shot 60.7% from the field for the night, including a 65.6% clip in the first half. They held a 37-27 edge in rebounding and committed just 10 turnovers. Augsburg held a 52-14 scoring advantage in the paint. All told, 14 players took the court for Augsburg and 10 of them scored. Nate Alm paced the team with yet another double-double. He scored 14 points while grabbing 12 boards. David Olson added 14 points and six assists, Andy Grzesiak-Grimm chipped in 11 points and Jon Cassens added 10 points and doled out five assists.
The Auggies broke open a close game with a 12-1 run midway through the first half, pulling away to a 27-14 lead. They maintained a 10-point advantage at the half. The Auggies were nearly perfect from the free throw line in the second half, which enabled them to push the lead to as many as 20. Over the final minutes, Augsburg canned 12 consecutive free throws and was 14-for-16; for the game, they connected on 32 of 35 from the charity stripe. The Auggies held a commanding 36-28 edge off the glass and shot a solid 46.8% from the floor. Alm paced the attack with 24 points, including 12-for-12 from the line. Cassens and Grzesiak-Grimm each added 12 points.
Augsburg is now 8-3 in MIAC play and 10-6 overall. The Auggies host St. Thomas on Wednesday and play at St. Olaf on Saturday.
The Knights went 1-2 on the week. Their 72-67 win over Gustavus was bookended by losses to Bethel 76-61 and Saint John’s 65-63.
Carleton fell behind early against Bethel and was unable to dig back out of the hole. After Bryan Rosett opened the game with a three, the Knights faded and found themselves down 20-10. Buckets by Rosett and Carter Biewen pulled them back within six, but the tide quickly turned. By halftime, they trailed by a dozen and were unable to cut the gap below that. Cold shooting was to blame as the Knights connected on just 36.6% of their shots in the opening stanza and 40.4% for the night. Zach Johnson led the way with 19 points, while Rosett finished with 12. They each pulled down five rebounds and Seth Jonker grabbed six.
Wednesday, the Knights hosted Gustavus and pulled out a hard-fought win. After trailing much of the first half, the Knights got on track in the second, opening the stanza with a 14-7 run to take a 46-40 lead. They were unable to break it open then, though, as the Gusties battled back. All told, there were 13 lead changes in the second half and the game was tied on five occasions. The Knights defense clamped down over the final three minutes, as they held GAC to four points down the stretch. Trailing by four, the Knights got buckets from Johnson and Rosett to tie the game. Clutch free-throw shooting in the final minutes proved to be the difference. Kellen McLemore canned four of four from the line and Rosett added a pair, sealing the win. The Knights were 11-for-11 from the stripe in the second half and 15-for-17 for the game. Johnson led all scorers with 28; he added five assists. Rosett added 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
Saturday, the Knights locked horns for 40 minutes with Saint John’s before falling by two as a three-point attempt with 0:01 left to play rimmed out. Neither team held a lead of more than eight points. Carleton took a three-point lead midway through the first half but SJU took the lead back and maintained a slim margin the rest of the way. Johnson and Jonker each tallied 15 points to lead the scoring. Rosett added 11. Jonker also grabbed eight rebounds, while Biewen snared seven and Johnson pulled down six.
Carleton is now 7-4 in conference play and 11-5 overall. The Knights host Concordia on Wednesday before traveling to Hamline on Saturday.
The Royals went 3-0 on the week, beating Carleton 76-61, Saint John’s 78-62 and Saint Mary’s 70-58.
Monday, the Royals broke to an early 10-point lead and never looked back. BU took the lead for good early in the game on a traditional three-point play by Tim Madson, which sparked a 10-0 run. They took a 38-26 lead into the intermission. They opened the second half with a 13-4 outburst and coasted from there. The Royals committed just 10 turnovers on the night. Corey Laugen paced the offense with 18 points and Madson finished with 15. Mike Moberg posted a double-double scoring 12 and grabbing 12 rebounds. Nathan Robertson chipped in 10 points.
The Royals used a strong effort in the first half to pull to a 45-31 lead by the half. Bethel shot 62.1% from the field for the half, including four-for-six from three-point land. The second half was more evenly contested as the Royals’ hot hands cooled off, connecting on 41.4% of their shots. SJU rallied to within five, but a 15-4 outburst from the Royals sealed the win, with Madson, Moberg and Chris Vavra accounting for all the points in that run. A key to the win was the 47-30 advantage Bethel enjoyed off the glass. Moberg finished the game with 21 points, 10 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. Madson and Vavra each tallied 15, with Madson grabbing nine rebounds and Vavra doling out five assists. Laugen added 14 points and Robertson tallied 10 points to go with his eight boards.
Saturday, the Royals led from start to finish. The lead was in single digits the first 35 minutes and as small as one with 8:47 to play. They pulled away down the stretch, connecting on 12-of-12 free throws over the final eight minutes of play. Madson posted a double-double, scoring 21 to go with 10 rebounds. Moberg narrowly missed a double-double, dropping in 24 points to go with nine rebounds. Robertson added 15 points.
Bethel is alone in third place with an 8-4 record. They are 13-4 on the year. The Royals are at home both games scheduled this week, hosting Macalester and Concordia.
The Gusties beat Saint John’s 68-62, but lost to Carleton 72-67 and Concordia 69-68 to close out the week.
Monday, the Gusties trailed early but rallied to regain the lead and ultimately the win against Saint John’s. After falling behind by 12 midway through the first half, GAC righted ship and chipped away at the deficit until they took the lead for good on a three-pointer by Robert Schmidt with 8:06 to play. The Gusties shot 50.0% for the second half and committed a mere six turnovers on the night. Four Gusties reached double figures, led by Ryan McPartland, who scored 16 points while snagging nine rebounds. Jesse Van Sickle added 12 points and Sam Paulson and Bobby Johnson each dropped in 10.
Wednesday, the Gusties broke to an early 11-4 lead behind a pair of quick buckets by Van Sickle and a trey by Mike DesLauriers. After Carleton battled back to take the lead later in the opening half, the Gusties got back-to-back threes from Dan Schmidtknecht and Johnson to retake the lead. They held on to a 33-32 edge at the intermission. The second half was also tightly contested, as Carleton pulled out to a six-point lead before Robert Schmidt and Johnson put on a 7-0 outburst to give GAC the lead. The Gusties extended the margin to four with 2:48 to play but were sunk by six consecutive Carleton free throws to close the game. GAC held a 34-26 edge in rebounds. McPartland led the way, scoring 17 points and grabbing five rebounds. Johnson added 15 points with six rebounds and Paulson added 13 points. Schmidt snagged a team-leading seven boards.
Saturday, the Gusties broke to an early lead and extended the margin to as many as 11 late in the first half before taking a 34-27 lead into the break. Concordia stormed into the lead early in the second half but the Gusties battled back into a five-point lead midway through the stanza. GAC led by two with 4:47 to play but the Cobbers regained momentum and held on for the win. Schmidt led Gustavus with 18 points, while McPartland and Paulson each tallied 14.
The Gusties are 7-4 in league games and 8-8 overall. They host Saint Mary’s on Wednesday before enjoying a bye over the weekend.
The Johnnies lost twice, falling to Gustavus 68-62 and to Bethel 78-62, before bouncing back to nip Carleton 65-63.
SJU opened strong at Gustavus, shooting 40.7% from the floor in the first half. They opened a 27-15 lead behind a 9-0 run midway through the first half. A pair of layups by Garrett Bassett sparked the run. Gustavus battled back, but the Johnnies held a five-point lead at the break. SJU cooled off in the second half, hitting just 33.3% of its shots- and only three-of-14 from behind the arc- enabling the Gusties to slip past them and secure the win. SJU was scoreless over the final three minutes of the game. Aaron Burtzel led the Johnnies, scoring 16 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Andrews Latzke added 13 points and eight boards, while Sam Blank chipped in 10 points off the bench. Aaron Barmore had a game-high 10 rebounds.
The Johnnies trailed the entire game Wednesday. They shot just 33.3% from the field in the first half while Bethel torched the net at a 62.1% clip. SJU did not shot better in the second half, but their defense slowed the Royals down. The Johnnies rallied early in the second half, trimming the gap to five before about half the lights in Sexton Arena went out for about 10 minutes. The delay seemed to sap the Jays’ momentum and Bethel pulled away for the win. Cole Isetts came off the bench and led the SJU attack with 14 points. Burtzel added 13 points and eight rebounds, while Barmore added 12 points.
Saturday, the Johnnies gutted out a hard-earned win over Carleton. They took the lead midway through the first half and held it the rest of the way, but were never able to pull further ahead than eight points, as the two teams matched each other nearly point for point the entire way. Andy Burns posted a rare points-assists double-double, scoring 13 while doling out 10 assists. Schwartz added 12 points, while Barmore and Isetts each chipped in 11. Burtzel grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds and added nine points.
Saint John’s stands 6-6 in conference play and 8-9 overall. The Johnnies are off until Saturday, when they travel to Saint Mary’s.
The Oles beat Concordia 68-66 for their third consecutive win. The streak ended with a 73-61 loss to St. Thomas.
After opening the game with an 18-6 spurt, the Oles seemed poised for an easy win. However, the Cobbers battled back within one late in the first half and St. Olaf clung to a three-point lead at the half. The Oles used a 9-0 run- fueled by a three-point play by Mitch Haugen and a pair of treys by Mark Torrell- to gain some breathing room. They later extended the margin to 14 but needed to hold off a furious rally by Concordia to take the win. Key to the win was hot shooting from deep, as the Oles connected on 12 of 18 three-point attempts. Torrell ended the game with 23 points and was perfect in shooting (8-for-8 from the field and 7-of-7 from the line). Brady McMahon added 10 points.
Saturday, the Oles never led, as St. Thomas jumped out to a 12-2 lead. Cold shooting in the first half added to the Oles woes, as they connected on just 28.6% of their shots. The offense warmed up considerably in the second half, as St. Olaf torched the net at a 60.0% clip. However, they were unable to draw closer than 13 in the second half until a 7-0 run over the final two minutes brought them within 12. Mark Wieloch came off the bench to lead the offense with 13 points, including three three-pointers. Bobby Fong added 12 points, Nate Krosschell scored 11 and Alfred Jaryan added 10.
St. Olaf is now 5-6 in MIAC play and 8-8 on the season. The Oles have a pair of home games in the upcoming week, hosting Hamline on Wednesday and Augsburg on Saturday.
The Cobbers lost twice, falling to St. Olaf 68-66 and St. Thomas 83-61. Saturday, the extracted revenge on Gustavus, nipping the Gusties 69-68.
Monday, Concordia fell behind early, trailing St Olaf 20-8 with eight minutes remaining in the first half. A Layup by Darrin Olmscheid sparked a 10-1 rally that helped Cobbers close within three by the half. St. Olaf appeared poised to break the game open early in the second stanza, staking a 14-point lead, but a three-point play by John Fraase kicked off a 13-2 spurt that drew the Cobbs to within three, 49-46. Again the Oles pulled away and again the Cobbs rallied, this time closing the gap to one with four minutes to play. Concordia was unable to overtake the Oles and a desperation jumper by Olmscheid came up short. The Cobbers held a 37-26 edge off the glass but that was mitigated by 14 turnovers and cold (27.3%) shooting from behind the arc. Fraase had a monster night, scoring 19 and grabbing 15 rebounds. He also dished out four assists and had a pair of steals. Olmscheid ended up with 16 points and five boards.
The Cobbers hosted St. Thomas on Wednesday. They gave the #2 ranked visitors all they could ask for in the opening 11 minutes of play and battled hard all night. The Cobbers staked out an early three-point lead behind triples by Eric Hartmann and Karl Olson. UST erupted for runs of 11-1 and 17-7 to close the half with an 18-point lead. Concordia used five points from Ryan Hagemeyer to trim the gap to 10 midway through the second half, but was unable to get closer. Fraase had another solid night, dropping in 17 points while hauling in a game-high seven rebounds. Olmscheid finished with eight points.
Saturday, the Cobbers overcame Gustavus as well as an ankle injury to Fraase. He twisted it midway through the first half and left the game. However, Olmscheid picked up the slack, scoring 22 of his career-high 30 points in the second half. The Cobbers, who lost 100-67 when the two teams met earlier, trailed the entire first half, by as much as 11. They opened the second half with a 10-0 tear to take the lead, as Hagemeyer dropped in five points. Gustavus regained the lead and pushed it up to five. Olmscheid drained a trey with 3:27 remaining, putting Concordia back on top. Gustavus was able to tie the game twice in the final minutes, but never regained the lead. Olson drained a free throw with 0:03 left for the final margin and then preserved the win by stealing the ball. The Cobbers, who committed only eight turnovers, shot 51.0% for the game, including 54.2% in the second half. Olmscheid was the only Concordia player in double figures; he also had a game-high seven rebounds.
Concordia is 4-8 in league play and 7-10 overall. The Cobbers are on the road in the upcoming week, playing at Carleton and Bethel.
The Cardinals went 1-2 on the week. They lost to Augsburg 84-64, beat Macalester 70-65 in overtime and then dropped a 70-58 game to Bethel.
Monday, the Cardinals got off to a wobbly start, trailing 11-0 in the opening minutes and by 20 midway through the first half. Threes by Will Wright and Lukas Holland sparked a rally that pulled SMU within 12, but they could get no closer. After trailing by 18 at the half, SMU was unable to draw nearer than that in the final 20 minutes. The Cards shot just 26.9% from the field in the first half, but warmed up to 53.8% in the second. Holland led the way with 13 points and Wright added 11.
Cold shooting in the first half (23.3%) put the Cardinals in the hole at Macalester, as they trailed by as many as 10 in the opening stanza. The opened the second half with a 7-0 run, behind five points from Holland, to pull back into contention. From there, the game remained tight and SMU briefly took the lead as Patrick Connolly scored on a put-back. Mac regained the lead and was up by six with 2:52 to go. Four points each from Bradley Bruno and a game-tying three-pointer by Holland with 2.6 seconds left in the game allowed SMU to force overtime. Holland opened the OT with a booming three and SMU led the entire extra five minutes. Holland finished the game with 21 points. Wright added 17 points, five rebounds and three steals. Bruno posted 12 points and 10 rebounds as well as three steals.
Against Bethel, the Cardinals came out cold, 8 of 24 field-goal attempts — including an 0-for-5 showing from behind the arc — and went into the intermission tailing 30-21. In the second half, SMU clawed back into the game, pulling within one, 51-50, on a triple by Holland, but were outscored by the Royals 19-8 over the final minutes. Holland led the attack with 20 points and Wright added 17.
Saint Mary’s stands 4-8 in conference action and 5-12 on the year. They play at Gustavus on Wednesday and host Saint John’s on Saturday.
The Pipers lost to St. Thomas 64-59 and Augsburg 83-67 before thumping Macalester 84-56.
Monday, the Pipers gave league leader St. Thomas all it could handle before falling. Hot shooting by Tony Thrasher kept the Pipers in contention in the first half. After UST opened the second half with a 4-0 spurt, Thrasher drained a three form the corner to keep Hamline close. Later in the half when the Tommies seemed ready to pull away, Max Van Ordstrand drilled a triple to pull Hamline within one, but the Pipers could not get over the hump. Thrasher led all scorers with 18 points; he added five rebounds and a pair of steals. Carl Hipp grabbed a team-leading seven rebounds to go with three blocked shots and six points.
Against Augsburg, the Pipers took an early 6-5 lead before yielding a 6-0 run that they ever recovered from. After trailing by as many as 12 in the first half, the Pipers were able to pull within five on a Dan Anderson jumper early in the second half. Augsburg pushed the margin to double digits and sealed the win at the line in the final minutes. Thrasher led the Pipers with 18 points and a pair of steals. Anderson tallied 14 and Van Ordstrand added 11, along with four assists. Stoddard Barnhill chipped in 10 points while dishing out five assists.
Saturday, Hamline snapped a nine game losing streak. They raced to an 8-0 lead, part of a 31-10 run at the beginning of the game that removed any doubt from the outcome. They outrebounded Mac 45-32, and shot 50.8% from the field, including 47.6% from three-point range. Thrasher, fully recovered from an earlier injury, posted a double-double, scoring 18 and grabbing 10 rebounds. He added four assists. Hipp tossed in 18 point and snagged seven boards, along with blocking two shots. Van Ordstrand tallied 12 points and Anderson and Brandon Rieg chipped in 11.
Hamline is now 3-9 in MIAC play and 4-12 overall. The Pipers look to extend their win skein at St. Olaf on Wednesday. They host Carleton on Saturday.
After a bye, the Scots lost to Saint Mary’s 70-65 in overtime and then dropped an 84-56 decision to Hamline.
The Scots came tantalizingly close to notching their first win of the season on Wednesday. They took an early over Saint Mary’s and maintained the lead the entire first half. They stretched it to as many as 10 before settling for a 30-21 edge at the intermission. The second half was closely contested, as SMU briefly took the lead before Mac went on a 6-0 spurt, primarily behind a pair of buckets by Paul Richie. The Scots led by six with just under three minutes to play, but a buzzer-beating SMU trey tied the game, forcing overtime. The Scots never led in the OT, falling by five. Colin Keeley had a slid night, dropping in 19 points and taking down nine rebounds. Richie finished with 16 points and three assists, while Kyle Hamblett added 14 points. Jerry Kraus had a game-high 12 rebounds, along with six points.
Saturday, the Scots fell behind from the onset. They trailed 8-0 after the opening minutes. The gap grew to 33-10 midway through the first half. The Scots were able to pull within 13 on two occasions early in the second half but could not draw nearer. Keeley posted a game-high 18 points and had six rebounds. David Lewin added 12 points.
Macalester is now 0-12 in league play and 0-17 on the season. They travel to Bethel on Wednesday in search of their first win and return home to tangle with St. Thomas.