Auggies, Royals moving on in MIAC Men's Basketball Playoffs

BU/AUG

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The 2019 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Men's Basketball Playoffs got underway Tuesday night with a pair of quarterfinal contests.

No. 4 Augsburg University got the postseason off to a dramatic start as Booker Coplin drained a three-pointer at the buzzer to secure a 67-64 victory over No. 5 St. Olaf. Meanwhile, No. 3 Bethel University rolled to a 93-67 victory at home over No. 6 Gustavus.

2019 MIAC Men's Basketball Playoffs |

The Royals and Auggies now join St. Thomas and Saint John's in the semifinals. The top-seeded Tommies will host No. 4 Augsburg, while No. 2 seed Saint John's will welcome No. 3 Bethel. The Tommies and Auggies will tipoff at 8:00 p.m. in St. Paul on Thursday night, an hour after the Royals and Johnnies get underway in Collegeville. The two semifinal matchups represent what should be exciting rubber matches of the two series this year, as the squads split their respective series in the regular season.

NO. 4 AUGSBURG 67, NO. 5 ST. OLAF 64 | Box Score |
With the season on the line, Augsburg gave the ball to its best player and he delivered. With time expiring and the game tied at 64, MIAC leading scorer Booker Coplin connected on a deep three-point shot at the buzzer to propel the defending conference playoff champs back to the semifinal round. It was the perfect punctuation for a monster night from the junior guard, who registered a 33-point, 15-rebound double-double, accounting for almost half of Augsburg's offensive output and 50 percent of the team's defensive boards. Three of Augsburg's five starters - including Coplin - played the full 40 minutes in the game. Senior forward Austin Korba had one more outstanding performance for the Oles, totaling 22 points and 10 rebounds in what was likely his final collegiate game. The Auggies will move on to challenge top-seeded St. Thomas in St. Paul on Thursday. Augsburg ended the Tommies' season in the quarterfinal round of the MIAC tournament last year. The two teams split in the 2019 regular season. Tipoff for Thursday's semifinal contest is set for 8:00 p.m.

NO. 3 BETHEL 93, No. 6 GUSTAVUS 67 | Box Score |
Bethel's quest to reach a third straight MIAC Playoff title game remains alive after the No. 3 seeded Royals defeated No. 6 Gustavus, 93-67, in quarterfinal action on Tuesday night. Senior guard Matt Ambriz led the Royals with a game-high 21 points, shooting 8-for-9 from the field and a perfect 5-for-5 from behind the arc. Senior guard Tyler Barker came up big for BU as well, posting a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double - the first double-digit rebound game of his career. Bethel's defense neutralized Gustavus wing Riley Sharbono, who was held to six points after dropping a season-high 22 on the Royals less than a week ago in St. Peter. First-year forward Nolan Malo led the Gusties with 12 points and seven boards in the contest. The Royals will travel to Saint John's on Thursday for a 7:00 p.m. tipoff in the MIAC Semifinals. The two teams split in the regular season.

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME SET FOR SATURDAY
The two semifinal winners will meet on Saturday, February 23, in the 2019 MIAC Men's Basketball Playoff Championship game. The game is tentatively scheduled for 7:00 p.m. The MIAC Playoff champion will receive the postseason championship plaque and the conference's automatic bid to the 2019 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament.

The MIAC has a homepage dedicated to the 2019 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, on the free MIAC mobile app, and on social media through the MIAC's FacebookInstagram and Twitter accounts.


2019 MIAC MEN'S BASKETBALL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Quarterfinals | Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019 |
No. 4 Augsburg 67, No. 5 St. Olaf 64 | Box Score |
No. 3 Bethel 93, No. 6 Gustavus 67 | Box Score |

Semifinals | Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019 |
No. 3 Bethel at No. 2 Saint John's | 7:00 PM | Live Stats | Video |
No. 4 Augsburg at No. 1 St. Thomas | 8:00 PM |

Championship | Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019
Lowest remaining seed at Highest remaining seed | 7:00 PM |

GAME TIMES ARE TENTATIVE