MIAC Men's Basketball Notebook - February 5, 2019

Matt Ambriz connected on 7-of-9 from the field -- including all six three-point attempts - and knocked down a pair of free throws to total 22 points in the Royals' upset of No. 12-ranked Saint John's last Thursday.
Matt Ambriz connected on 7-of-9 from the field -- including all six three-point attempts - and knocked down a pair of free throws to total 22 points in the Royals' upset of No. 12-ranked Saint John's last Thursday.

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Two playoff spots are up for grabs with less than two weeks remaining in the 2018-19 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) men's basketball regular season.

PLAYOFF PICTURE
Four teams have already secured their spots in the 2019 MIAC Men's Basketball Playoffs. Undefeated St. Thomas is assured a top-two seed, while Saint John's can still contend for home court advantage at 13-3 with four games remaining. Augsburg and Bethel both punched tickets to the postseason on Monday. St. Olaf can clinch a postseason berth with one win in its final four games.

POLL TALK
St. Thomas held strong at No. 5 in the nation in the latest D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll this week, while Saint John's slid five spots to No. 17. Augsburg received two votes in the balloting.

NATIONAL NOTABLES
Saint John's leads the country in field goal percentage (54.8), ranks second in team rebounding margin (13.5) and scoring margin (19.9), and is currently fifth in three-point field goal percentage (41.4).

St. Thomas is ranked first in Division III in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.85), third in scoring margin (21.2), and fourth in won-lost percentage (95.0).

AROUND THE MIAC
Augsburg guard Kevin McKiernan (Savage, Minn. | Prior Lake) became the 22nd player in Auggie history to reach the 1,000-point plateau in career scoring, recording 13 points with two rebounds in the team's 76-69 win at Carleton. He has scored in double figures in six consecutive games.

Bethel guard Matt Ambriz (Woodbury, Minn.) connected on 7-of-9 from the field -- including all six three-point attempts - and knocked down a pair of free throws to total 22 points in the Royals' upset of No. 12-ranked Saint John's on Thursday. The senior guard eclipsed 1,000 points for his collegiate career in the game and helped extend Bethel's winning streak to a season-best five games.

Carleton sophomore Matthew Stritzel (Chicago, Ill. | Niles Notre Dame) poured in 19 of his game-high 21 points in the second half of Carleton's 67-61 road loss at Gustavus on Monday. He has hit double figures twice in the last week.

Concordia guard Collin Larson (Fargo, N.D. | Davies) drained a half-court buzzer beater to break a 76-76 tie and give Concordia a 79-76 win over Augsburg to close out the month of January. Larson was 6-for-8 from outside the arc and finished with a team- and season-high 22 points. Larson's only other 20-point effort this season also came against the Auggies last December.

Gustavus sophomore Logan Rezac (Andover, Minn.) poured in two solid performances off the bench to help guide the Gusties to a pair of victories last week. Rezac shot 71.4 percent from the field in the two games, scoring 14 points and seven rebounds on Thursday in an eight-point win over Hamline before he notched a team-high 15 points to go along with six rebounds on Saturday to help Gustavus extend its home win streak to five in a 67-61 win over Carleton.

Hamline sophomore Trey Prince (Chanhassen, Minn.) drilled a three-pointer with 5.9 seconds remaining in the game to lift the Pipers to a 68-65 victory over Saint Mary's on Monday. Prince scored eight points in the game.

Macalester forward Jackson Henningfield (Lake Mary, Fla. | Lyman) scored four of his 17 points in overtime to help the Scots top Concordia, 68-63, on Monday. The sophomore post finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds for his sixth double-double and second in a row.

Saint John's guard David Stokman (Maple Lake, Minn.) led four Johnnies in double figures with 24 points in Monday's victory over Augsburg. Stokman has reached the 20-point plateau six times this season and 23 times in his SJU career.

Eli Cave (St. Paul, Minn. | Benilde-St. Margaret's) and Sawyer Rosner (Phelps, Wis.) each scored 24 points in Saint Mary's 90-85 overtime loss to St. Olaf last Thursday. It was the second time this season the Cardinals have had two players score 20 or more points in the same game.

Sophomore guard Dominic Bledsoe (St. Paul, Minn. | De La Salle) averaged 16 points, five rebounds and four steals per game, while committing only one turnover in wins against Saint Mary's and Concordia last week. Bledsoe shot 8-of-13 from the field and posted 19 points to go along with six rebounds and six assists against the Cardinals and reached double figures again with 13 points and six steals last Saturday against Concordia.

St. Thomas sophomore Ryan Lindberg (Plymouth, Minn. | Wayzata) scored eight of his game-high 17 points during a late 26-5 Tommie run to lead No. 5-ranked St. Thomas to Monday night's 74-66 road victory at Gustavus. The Toms rallied back from a 57-45 deficit in the final nine minutes to extend their current win streak to 20 games.

LEAGUE LEADERS

2018-19 MIAC Statistical Leaders
Overall MIAC
Scoring Booker Coplin, Augsburg 26.1 PPG Booker Coplin, Augsburg 26.4 PPG
Rebounds Booker Coplin, Augsburg
Lucas Walford, Saint John's
9.1 REB/G Lucas Walford, Saint John's 9.1 REB/G
Assists Tyler Barker, Bethel 5.1 AST/G Matt Carik, Augsburg 5.6 AST/G
Steals Booker Coplin, Augsburg 2.5 STL/G Booker Coplin, Augsburg 2.6 STL/G
Blocks Lucas Walford, Saint John's 1.6 BLK/G Lucas Walford, Saint John's 1.8 BLK/G