MIAC Men's Basketball Notebook - January 8, 2019

St. Thomas senior Connor Bair scored 36 points in 35 minutes of action in a pair of Tommie wins last week.
St. Thomas senior Connor Bair scored 36 points in 35 minutes of action in a pair of Tommie wins last week.

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) men's basketball teams returned to the court last week following a restful holiday break. Two teams - Saint John's and St. Thomas - remain undefeated in conference play with six weeks of regular season action left before the MIAC Playoffs.

POLL TALK
Saint John's shot up eight spots to No. 11 in the latest D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll. St. Thomas also made its season debut in the Top 25 this week, landing at No. 16 in the nation.

NATIONAL NOTABLES
Saint John's has cracked the nation's top-five in a number of statistical categories this season. SJU ranks first in Division III in overall field goal percentage (56.9) and three-point field goal percentage (44.7), second in rebound margin (15.8), and fifth in scoring margin (23.8).

Saint John's post Lucas Walford (Elko, Minn. | New Prague) ranks third in NCAA Division III with a field goal percentage of 72.1 this season.

Fellow Johnnie David Stokman (Maple Lake, Minn.) is fourth in D-III with a three-point field goal percentage of 52.2 on the year.

AROUND THE MIAC
Augsburg junior guard Booker Coplin (Shakopee, Minn.) led the Auggies with a 21-point, 10-rebound double-double in a win at Gustavus on Monday. It was his fifth double-double of the season and the 10th of his Auggie career. Coplin was 7-of-10 from the field and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line, to go along with three assists and a pair of steals.

Bethel senior guard Matt Ambriz (Woodbury, Minn.) scored 11 of his game-high 19 points in the second half to fuel the Bethel offense to an 87-61 win over Saint Mary's on Monday. Ambriz led the way behind the arc, knocking down a team-best five long balls on seven attempts.  

Carleton first-year Joe Thursby (Park Ridge, Ill. | Northridge Prep) came off the bench and drained three consecutive three-pointers to boost the Knights to a 67-51 victory at Macalester on Monday. Thursby's nine points matches a career-high.

Concordia guard Tommy Schyma (Monticello, Minn.) banked home a three-point field goal with five seconds left in the second half to break a 57-57 tie and help the Cobbers post a 61-57 win at St. Olaf last Saturday. The Cobbers overcame a 34-25 halftime deficit and trailed by as many as 14 points in the second half before recording their second straight conference win. Schyma finished with 18 points and a game-high 10 rebounds to notch his second double-double of the season and third of his career.

Gustavus wing Riley Sharbono (Marshall, Minn.) led all Gusties with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting in a loss to Augsburg on Monday. Sharbono ranks 10th in the conference with an average of 14.7 points per game against MIAC foes this season.

Hamline senior Isaac Brooks (Lakeville, Minn. | North) was among four Pipers in double-figures against St. Thomas last Saturday. Brooks registered 10 points in the game to bring his career total to 927.

Macalester forward Wyatt Ferm (Farmington, Minn.) recorded his seventh double-double of the season on Monday, tallying 11 points and 10 rebounds to go along with three assists and a pair of blocks against Carleton. Ferm has scored in double-figures in all but two games this season.

Saint John's guard David Stokman (Maple Lake, Minn.) buried five three-pointers (5-for-8) and led all scorers with 23 points, as the Johnnies shot 78 percent from the floor in the second half to defeat Concordia, 83-44, on Monday. The 20-point game was his third of the season and 20th of his career. He now ranks 13th in school history with 1,242 career points. He is also 16 three-point baskets shy of Patrick Strom's career record of 232.

Saint Mary's sophomore Eli Cave (St. Paul, Minn. | Benilde-St. Margaret's) scored 12 points in SMU's game against Hamline last Wednesday and netted 11 versus Augsburg three days later. Cave has now scored 10 or more points in all 12 of the Cardinals' contests this season.

St. Olaf forward Austin Korba (Lakeville, Minn. | Apple Valley) averaged 16.5 points and 8.5 rebounds while shooting 51.9 percent from the floor last week. Korba scored 16 of his game-high 22 points in the second half to help the Oles defeat Bethel, 63-54, last Wednesday. It was his first double-double of the season and his second 20-point/10-rebound game of his career.

St. Thomas senior Connor Bair (Prior Lake, Minn.) scored 36 points in 35 minutes of action in a pair of Tommie wins last week. The forward played just 17.5 minutes per game in conference victories over Gustavus and Hamline, but made those minutes count, as he shot better than 80 percent in both contests, posting 10 points and three rebounds while going 4-for-5 from the floor against the Gusties on Wednesday before totaling a career-best 26 points on 10-of-12 shooting in a win over the Pipers on Saturday. Bair is tied for sixth in NCAA Division III with a field goal percentage of 69.2 this season.

LEAGUE LEADERS

2018-19 MIAC Statistical Leaders
Overall MIAC
Scoring Booker Coplin, Augsburg 24.1 PPG Booker Coplin, Augsburg 23.3 PPG
Rebounds Wyatt Ferm, Macalester 9.8 REB/G Derek Magnuson, Bethel 9.2 REB/G
Assists Thomas Schyma, Concordia 4.9 AST/G Anders Nelson, St. Thomas 5.6 AST/G
Steals Booker Coplin, Augsburg 2.5 STL/G Anders Nelson, St. Thomas 2.9 STL/G
Blocks Lucas Walford, Saint John's 1.8 BLK/G Lucas Walford, Saint John's 2.4 BLK/G