BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The 2019 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Men's Basketball Championship will feature the No. 2 seed Saint John's Johnnies hosting the No. 4 seed Augsburg Auggies on Saturday evening in Collegeville. Tipoff is tentatively set for 7:00 p.m. at Sexton Arena.
The Johnnies - ranked No. 10 in the nation in the latest D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll - cruised to an 82-49 home victory over No. 3 seed Bethel on Thursday night, while the No. 4 seeded Auggies kept their bid for a repeat MIAC Playoff title alive with another dramatic victory, this time over top seed and nationally-ranked St. Thomas, 84-81, in St. Paul.
The two teams will now meet in the title game with a return to the "Big Dance" on the line. Both squads made the NCAA Tournament last season, as the Johnnies earned the regular season title and an at-large berth, while the Auggies took home the MIAC's automatic qualifier by virtue of claiming the playoff crown. This year, Saint John's swept Augsburg in regular season play and will be looking for its first MIAC Playoff championship since 2001, while Augsburg will attempt to make it two in a row as a four-seed, having won the conference tourney last season from the same spot on the card.
NO. 2 SAINT JOHN'S 82, NO. 3 BETHEL 49 | Box Score |
If defense wins championships, the Johnnies are sitting pretty heading into Saturday, as the nation's tenth-ranked team held Bethel - a squad entering the Thursday night on an 11-game winning streak - to a shooting percentage of 29.3 en route to an 82-49 victory over Bethel. All five of SJU's starters reached double figures, while the team shot 51.6 percent from the floor and 50 percent even from three-point range. Juniors Jubie Alade and Lucas Walford led the Johnnies with 14 points each, while Walford added 15 boards for his 10th double-double of the season. Granger Kingland led the Royals with 13 points.
NO. 1 ST. THOMAS, NO. 4 AUGSBURG | Box Score |
It was déjà vu all over again for Augsburg on Thursday night. A mere 48 hours removed from Booker Coplin's three-point buzzer-beater against St. Olaf in the MIAC Quarterfinals, Auggie magic struck again on Thursday night, as Matt Carik drained a three with 20 seconds to play to defeat top-seeded St. Thomas, 84-81, on the road in the semifinals. Coplin - who has averaged 36.0 points in his last three contests - led the Auggies with a game-high 32 points. For the regular season MIAC champs, the loss is the fourth of the season. Of those four St. Thomas losses, three have come by a combined point total of six and all allowed in the final 20 seconds of the game. Connor Bair led the Toms with 18 points. UST will await Monday's NCAA Selection Show to see if its season will continue in the NCAA Tournament, while Augsburg will look to punch its ticket with an automatic qualifier for the second straight year.
CHAMPIONSHIP GAME SET FOR SATURDAY
Saint John's and Augsburg will meet in Collegeville 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. Tickets for Saturday's championship game can be purchased online here.
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 Facebook, Instagram 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 | Recap |
No. 3 Bethel 93, No. 6 Gustavus 67 | Box Score | Recap |
GAME TIMES ARE TENTATIVE