Men's Hoops grinds out W, gets top-2 playoff seed

Photo by Haley Staffon
Photo by Haley Staffon

Senior guard Grant Shaeffer scored 21 points and Ryan Boll added 17 points and 13 rebounds as the host Tommies secured a first-round playoff bye with Wednesday night's 65-57 home win over St. Mary's in MIAC men's basketball play at Schoenecker Arena.

St. Thomas (18-6 overall, 14-5 MIAC) closes the regular-season Saturday at Concordia-Moorhead. With a win, the Toms will take the playoff top seed and share the championship. With a loss, they would finish alone or tied for second place.

Bethel won 81-68 at home Wednesday night over Concordia to finish 15-5 in the MIAC. Bethel  has a bye Saturday.

The Toms are assured of a first or second playoff seed and a Tuesday Feb. 21 bye in round one. If UST wins Saturday it wins a tie-breaker with Bethel for the No. 1 seed. If UST loses and Carleton wins, they share second place but UST would win a tie-breaker for No. 2.

Jordan Burich had nine points, 15 rebounds and two steals for St. Thomas. UST had a 46-27 rebounding advantage.

Shaeffer's buzzer-beating trey closed the first half and gave the Toms a 34-24 lead.

The stubborn Cardinals (6-17, 4-15) got as close as four points after halftime. They hung around the whole way before Shaeffer scored 10 consecutive Tommie points in the final 3:15 to extend the lead to double digits.

Wylie Ferron had 16 points and 13 boards for St. Mary's.