Just like the women the day before, the St. Thomas men knocked off visiting Gustavus Adolphus today to win the MIAC post-season championship and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA D3 tournament. In fact, this was also an instant replay of last year's men's tournament outcome as well.
The final was 66-62 and an OT period was needed to settle things, as befits the fact that the Tommies and Gusties tied for the regular season title at 16-4. The Tommies took the #1 seed, however, which meant they had the home court advantage today, and it's never an upset (as they say) when the home team wins. Gustavus had to be regretting that loss to #6 seed Bethel at home on the last night of the regular season that cost them sole possession of the regular season title and cost them the #1 seed for the playoffs and cost them the home court advantage today and, in all likelihood, cost them this game and, oh yes, thereby cost them a bid to the NCAA D3 title.
The NCAA D3 post-season brackets will be named tomorrow (Monday) at 11 a.m. on the NCAA Web site, and I hope the Gusties get a bid. They should since the MIAC is good enough to have produced the national champion (St. Thomas) a year ago. But at 20-7, the Gusties are on the bubble at best.
St. Thomas led by as many as 11 in the 1st half and still led by double digits as late as 13:32 of the 2nd half. Gustavus ran off 7 in a row to pull within 50-49 on a Seth Anderson jumper at 3:51. Anderson scored again with just 23 seconds left to take their 1st lead at 55-54. John Nance made 1-of-2 FT for the Tommies to send it into OT.
Anderson scored the 1st 5 points of OT and, once again, the Gusties had to be feeling pretty good, leading 62-57 at 2:25. But Zach Riedemann hit a 3 and 2 FT to tie it up for the Tommies. Eric Tengwall stole the ensuing in-bounds pass and laid it in for a 64-62 lead with 31 seconds left. Gustavus then committed 3 more turnovers on its last 3 possessions of the game and St. Thomas FTs wrapped things up.
Reidemann scored 19 off the Tommies bench, while Tyler Grey scored 19 for the Gusties. Will DeBerg added 17 points for St. Thomas while Paul Blacklock had just 4 points but 10 boards and 2 blocks for Gustavus.
Player of the Day
DeBerg, St. Thomas
Coach of the Day
Johnny Tauer, St. Thomas