Saturday men: NWU holds on; Augsburg rallies

More news about: Augsburg | Nebraska Wesleyan | Springfield
Nate Bahe finishes a layup for Nebraska Wesleyan with a Wartburg defender trailing. (Photo by Ryan Coleman,
The Prairie Wolves went on a 23-6 run in the second half but Wartburg rallied to tie in the final two minutes.
Photo by Ryan Coleman,

St. Thomas saw its long win streak snapped, Springfield revived some memories of its 2018 Final Four run, Nebraska Wesleyan survived its first week back in the No. 1 spot and Wabash's Jack Davidson set the Division III all-time record for consecutive made free throws in Saturday's men's basketball action. 

Augsburg scored the final seven points and held St. Thomas scoreless over the final 2:22 as the Auggies rallied to upset the No. 5-ranked Tommies 88-86 at St. Thomas on Saturday. With Augsburg's leading scorer Booker Coplin on the bench with foul trouble for the majority of the second half, St. Thomas (21-2, 17-1 MIAC) took the lead with 13:00 left in the game, and extended it out as far as eight points on a 3-pointer by Anders Nelson with 7:42 to play. But Coplin scored 11 of his team-high 21 points down the stretch, capped by a traditional three-point play with 5.8 seconds left to give the Auggies (17-6, 13-5) an 88-86 lead. Michael Hannon's 3-pointer in the corner at the buzzer clanged off the iron, triggering the celebration for Augsburg. 

"We weren't trying to get that seven-point deficit back in one possession. We didn't panic and start taking 3's, we just kept doing what we wanted to do," said Augsburg coach Aaron Griess. 

Kevin McKiernan led the way with 24 points for the Auggies, including 9-for-9 from the foul line. Bair led the Tommies with 26 points and 11 rebounds. The loss snapped a 21-game winning streak for St. Thomas.

Top-ranked Nebraska Wesleyan trailed by double digits, then led by double digits before Wartburg rallied to tie the game 75-75 with 1:43 left in regulation. But the Prairie Wolves hit enough free throws down the stretch to hold on for the 85-82 win, with the Knights' final two points coming at the buzzer to make the score closer. Jack Hiller scored 22 points and Cooper Cook added 15 for NWU, which improved to 22-1, 13-1 in the ARC. Wartburg, which got 21 points from Cam Kickbush, fell to 15-8, 9-5. 

Wabash sophomore Jack Davidson set the record for most consecutive free throws made by a Division III player, as he went 9-for-9 on Saturday, extending his streak to 89 consecutive free throws in a 96-79 win against Kenyon. Davidson exceeded the record set by Kalamazoo's Dirk Rhinehart, a streak of 84 which ended on Dec. 17, 2001.

Jake Ross scored a team-high 25 points, including 17 in the first half, while Cam Earle scored all of his 11 points in the second half to help Springfield knock off No. 6 MIT 66-61. It's just the ninth win on the season against 14 defeats for the Pride, who have gone 6-6 since losing eight of their first 11 games. Bradley Jomard scored a game-high 32 points for MIT (20-2, 10-1 NEWMAC), inclduing two free throwns with 26 seconds left to cut the deficit to 60-59. But Ross hit a pair of foul shots and came up with a big block on defense to keep the Pride in front, and Springfield was able to finish it off at the foul line.

Aston Francis had another amazing night for his Wheaton Thunder, as he shot 10-for-19 from 3-point range en route to 49 points and an 82-71 win at No. 13 North Central. The Thunder finished the game on an 18-4 run to move within a half-game of the Cardinals for second place in the CCIW and a first-round bye in the conference tournament. It was the second consecutive loss for North Central.

Hamilton bounced back in a battle of Top 10 teams coming off Friday night losses as the No. 8 Continentals won at No. 10 Williams 77-70. Kena Gilmour scored a game-high 29 points to lead Hamilton (20-3, 6-3 NESCAC). Williams finished the NESCAC slate at 6-4, 19-5 overall. A makeup game between Amherst and Hamilton on Tuesday will determine the final conference seedings. Bobby Casey led the Ephs with 20 points but was just 1-for-10 from beyond the arc.

Wittenberg snapped Wooster's winning streak at 12 games as the Tigers knocked off the No. 9 Scots, 84-73. Wooster (19-4, 14-2 North Coast Athletic Conference), which carries a one-game lead over No. 18 Wabash College (19-4, 13-3 NCAC) into the final week of the regular season, was within six at 76-70 after trailing by 19 with 4:16 left.

Wilmington held No. 11 Marietta to under 30 percent shooting from the field to pull out a 68-62 victory in an Ohio Athletic Conference game. Kevin Lewis had 24 points and eight rebounds as the Fightin' Quakers' defeated the Pioneers for the first time since Feb. 27, 2014. Marietta made its push with just under five minutes to play. Trailing 54-46, the Pioneers put together a 7-1 run capped by a Dixon triple to get with two points with 3:35 to go. Lewis made 1-of-2 from the free throw line giving Marietta the ball back with a chance to tie the game, but Richardson had his pocket picked by Will Patrick who scored in transition to push the lead back up to 58-53.

UW-Oshkosh clinched its first outright WIAC title since the 1977-78 season by coming from behind to defeat UW-Stevens Point 77-70. UW-Oshkosh turned a 65-60 deficit into a 68-65 lead during the span of four minutes and closed out the game with a 17-5 scoring run over the final 7:30 in improving to 22-1, 12-0 WIAC. The Titans were led by Ben Boots' 23 points, while Nate Dodge had a team-high 17 for UW-Stevens Point (15-7, 7-5).

New Jersey City wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the New Jersey Athletic Conference tournament, rolling past Rutgers-Camden 93-73. The Gothic Knights won their sixth consecutive game and their 10th in the past 11 outings. Denzel Banks had 14 points in 18 minutes for a team which recorded assists on 28 of its 36 baskets. Rowan settles for the No. 2 seed and the other first-round bye, clinched with a win vs. Rutgers-Newark. William Paterson clinched a spot in the NJAC tournament as well behind Sean Smith's game-winning jumper with 3.1 seconds left in overtime. The Pioneers (15-9, 10-7) defeated Ramapo 82-81. One game remains in the conference season to determine seeding among Ramapo, Montclair State, William Paterson and TCNJ, who are each within one game of each other.

DeSales pulled away for a 76-60 win at home over Misericordia and eliminated the defending conference champions from the conference playoffs. Luke Connaghan had 16 points for the Bulldogs (17-6, 10-2, MAC Freedom) who will play Eastern on Tuesday for hosting rights during the conference tournament. The Eagles rallied past Manhattanville 89-88 on Darius Washington's 3-pointer with seven seconds remaining.

Malik Pouncy drilled a 3-pointer with seven seconds left in regulation to lift Westfield State to a 94-93 win over league-leading Salem State in a MASCAC game.
Pouncy's triple turned a 93-91 deficit into an Owls lead, and Westfield survived a pair of late Salem 3-point tries to secure the win. Westfield improves to 13-10 overall and 6-4 in the MASCAC and holds onto second place in the league standings. Salem falls to 15-9, 9-2. The two teams combined for nine technical fouls, and three players fouled out as Westfield finished the game on a 25-7 run.

Pfeiffer poured in 139 points, 32 of them after regulation, in defeating North Carolina Wesleyan 139-131 in double overtime. Kyle Riddley scored a game-high 40 for the Falcons, who are in their second season of their transition from Division II to Division III. Craig Sabb and Josiah Avington added 27 apiece for Pfeiffer, which is 11-12, 6-10 in the USA South. N.C. Wesleyan fell to 18-5, 11-4.