Two free throws by John Nance with nine seconds left in overtime lifted defending NCAA III champion Saint Thomas to a 76-74 win over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in a NCAA III tournament game played in Whitewater, Wisconsin Friday night. Saint Thomas, 22-6, will play the winner of Friday's second game, UW-Whitewater and Northwestern (MN), in a second round game Saturday at 7:00 in Kachel Gym on the UW-W campus.
CMS led the entire first half, building an 11 point margin, 30-19 on Tyler Gaffney's three-pointer with 5:09 on the clock. The Stags went 5-10 from beyond the arc and 7-7 from the line in the first twenty minutes.
CMS led 47-34 at 13:24 in the second half, and still led by double digits, 55-45 with 7:44 on the clock. The Tommies took a run at the Stags, taking the lead for the first time, 64-63, on a Zach Riedemann layup with 1:15 left in regulation. Chris Blees' free throw with 0:43 left tied the game and sent it into overtime.
The teams were tied five times in OT. CMS went 5-6 from the line and Saint Thomas 6-8 with Nance's final two throws the winning margin.
Blees, a senior forward, was the game's leading scorer with 23 points, hitting 10-13 from the foul line. He also led the Stags with eight rebounds and six assists. Junior guard Will DeBerg topped UST with 19 points, connecting on 4-7 three point attempts.
Story courtesy of UW-W Sports Information