BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - After three weeks of non-conference action, Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) men's basketball teams lifted the lid on league play last week. Four teams - Hamline, Saint John's, St. Olaf, and St. Thomas - are undefeated in the MIAC following a week of Conference action.
Saint John's returned to the national spotlight this week, coming in at No. 24 in the latest D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll. St. Thomas received a pair of votes in the balloting.
Saint John's leads NCAA Division III with a three-point field goal percentage of 48.7 this season. The Johnnies rank third in the country at 54.5 in overall field goal percentage, and fifth in free throw percentage at 80.2 percent.
AROUND THE MIAC
Augsburg junior guard Booker Coplin (Shakopee, Minn.) recorded his third double-double of the season when he finished with a team-high 32 points and 12 rebounds in the Auggies' overtime loss to Bethel on Saturday. Coplin tied a career-high with five three-pointers while also dishing out a career-best eight assists in the game.
Jack Jenson's (Eden Prairie, Minn. | Southwest Christian) career-high 34 points - 30 of which came in the second half - helped Bethel come back to defeat Augsburg last Saturday afternoon. After going a perfect 5-for-5 from three-point range, Jenson put in the game-tying layup with three seconds remaining to send the contest into overtime, where he knocked down a layup, followed by the game's final free throws to make it a two-possession game.
Carleton got a big game off the bench from first-year forward Carlston McKenzie (Brooklyn Park, Minn. | Champlin Park) to log a 60-55 road win over Saint Mary's on Saturday. McKenzie entered the contest averaging 5.3 points per game and totaled a career-best 14 points against the Cardinals.
Concordia sophomore Jacob Fredrickson (Prior Lake, Minn.) registered double-figures off the bench against Hamline last week, connecting on 5-of-6 from the field and securing six rebounds in 16 minutes of action on Saturday.
Riley Sharbono (Marshall, Minn.) averaged 18 points per game while shooting 58.8 percent from the field and 55.6 percent from the three-point arc last week. He became the 33rd player in Gustavus history to eclipse 1,000 career points on Saturday against Saint John's.
Hamline sophomore Michael Dillon (Evergreen, Colo.) was lights out from downtown in a pair of games last week, canning six three-pointers in a win over Gustavus and adding three more from behind the arc in a victory against Concordia to help the Pipers improve to 2-0 in MIAC play for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
Macalester forward Jackson Henningfield (Lake Mary, Fla. | Lyman) posted his third 20-plus-point performance of the year in a loss to St. Olaf last Saturday. The sophomore totaled 20 points against the Oles, connecting on four three-pointers and 6-of-8 free throws in the game.
Saint John's post Lucas Walford (Elko, Minn. | New Prague) shot 66.7 percent (14-for-21) from the field and 88.9 percent (8-for-9) from the free-throw line, while averaging 18.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game as SJU opened the MIAC schedule with a 2-0 record last week. He did not commit a foul or turnover in 61 minutes of play.
Saint Mary's sophomore Eli Cave (St. Paul, Minn. | Benilde-St. Margaret's) followed up a 20-point performance against St. Olaf last Wednesday with his second career double-double against Carleton on Saturday. He scored 15 points and pulled down a career-high 12 rebounds against the Knights on Saturday afternoon.
St. Olaf guard Dominic Bledsoe (St. Paul, Minn. | De La Salle) averaged 17.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game, while only committing two turnovers in a pair of Conference victories last week. The sophomore recorded a career-high 24 points in a 79-54 victory over Macalester on Saturday while shooting 71.4 percent from the floor, making 10-of-14, including 4-of-6 from three-point range.
Anders Nelson (Edina, Minn.) averaged 24 points, 6.5 assists, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.5 steals in a road victory at Macalester and a U.S. Bank Stadium win over Wis.-River Falls last week. The first-year point guard and D3hoops.com Team of the Week honoree made all nine of his free throw attempts and sank 5-of-13 from three-point range in the two contests. Nelson is averaging 22 points, five assists, four steals, and four rebounds in the Tommies' current four-game win streak.