Royals, Auggies move on in MIAC Men’s Basketball Playoffs

dearring/sonie

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The 2018 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Men's Basketball Playoffs got underway Wednesday night with a pair of quarterfinal matchups.

No. 3 seed Bethel rallied late to top No. 6 Carleton, 71-66, while No. 4 Augsburg got off to an 8-0 lead and never looked back, defeating No. 5 St. Thomas, 67-55.

2018 MIAC Men's Basketball Playoffs |

The Royals and Auggies now join Saint John's and St. Olaf in the semifinals. The top-seeded Johnnies will host No. 4 Augsburg, while No. 2 seed St. Olaf will welcome No. 3 Bethel. Both contests are tentatively scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Friday night.

NO. 3 BETHEL 71, NO. 6 CARLETON 66 | Box Score |
Down by as many as 11 midway through the second half, it appeared that Bethel basketball fans were in for a second heartbreaking home playoff upset in as many nights. However, by the five-minute mark, the tide began to turn and the Royals rallied for a 71-66 win to keep their dreams of back-to-back MIAC Playoff championships alive. Matt Ambriz and Granger Kingland combined for 40 BU points, while senior Bridgeport Tusler turned in an 11-point, 11-board double-double off the bench in the victory. Carleton senior forward Kevin Grow put forth a 15-13 double-double effort of his own in what is likely a fitting end to a stellar collegiate career. Bethel now moves on to the semifinal round where the Royals will challenge No. 2 seed St. Olaf. The Oles bookended the month of January with victories over BU, a statistic the Royals will attempt to leave behind them on Friday. Tipoff is tentatively set for 7:00 p.m.

NO. 4 AUGSBURG 67, NO. 5 ST. THOMAS 55 | Box Score |
Four of the Auggies' five starters finished in double-figures as Augsburg earned its third victory of the season over St. Thomas, this time in the MIAC Quarterfinals by a margin of 67-55. Augsburg jumped out to an early lead and never relinquished it, thanks to 36 points in the paint – double that of UST – and a 13-for-14 night from the charity stripe. Senior forward Collin Olmscheid registered a 17-point, 11-rebound double-double to lead the Auggies, while guard Michael Hannon led the Tommies with 15 points and a pair of steals. Augsburg will head to Collegeville on Friday night for a semifinal matchup with No. 1 seed Saint John's. The Johnnies are ranked third in the nation and held off the Auggies twice in the MIAC regular season. Tipoff for Friday's game is tentatively scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME SET FOR SUNDAY
The two semifinal winners will meet on Sunday, February 25, in the 2018 MIAC Men's Basketball Playoff Championship game. The game is tentatively scheduled for 2 p.m. The MIAC Playoff champion will receive the postseason championship plaque and the Conference's automatic bid to the 2018 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament.

The MIAC has a homepage dedicated to the 2018 MIAC Men's Basketball Playoffs, containing schedules, links and information on each of the six teams in the field. Throughout the tournament, the page will be updated with scores, stats, updated schedules and more. Fans can also follow the action on the MIAC Scoreboard, the free MIAC mobile app or the MIAC's Facebook, Instagram or Twitter accounts.

2018 MIAC MEN'S BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS
Quarterfinals | Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018 | 7 p.m. |
No. 3 Bethel 71, No. 6 Carleton 66 | Box Score |
No. 4 Augsburg 67, No. 5 St. Thomas 55 | Box Score |

Semifinals | Friday, Feb. 23, 2018 | 7 p.m. |
No. 4 Augsburg at No. 1 Saint John's
No. 3 Bethel at No. 2 St. Olaf

Championship | Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018 | 2 p.m. |
Semifinal winners at highest remaining seed

GAME TIMES ARE TENTATIVE