Monday, March 21, 2011

St. Thomas Wins DIII Basketball Title

ST. THOMAS (Tommies, 10,986 students, St. Paul, MN) 78, WOOSTER (Fighting Scots, 1,854 students, Wooster, OH) 54
John Nance and Tommy Hannon each scored 16 points to lead five players scoring in double figures as St. Thomas stormed to its first NCAA men's basketball championship with Saturday's victory over Wooster (Ohio) in Salem, Va.
The Toms, who shot 54% from the floor, 18-of-20 at the foul line and had only nine turnovers, became the first conference men's basketball team to claim an NCAA championship.
The 24-point win tied a record for margin in a Division III men's championship game. UW-Stevens Point topped Rochester 73-49 in the 2005 final.
It's the 14th national team title for St. Thomas won by its seventh different sport. UST has previously won NCAA crowns in men's and women's cross country; women's basketball; men's indoor track and field; baseball; and softball. 
Coach Steve Fritz' No. 8-ranked Tommies (30-3) beat four top-seven ranked teams in the last nine days of the season. The Tommies held the final three -- Augustana, Middlebury and Wooster -- under 60 points each.
St. Thomas won its last 12 games of the season and closed out an 8-0 postseason run. The Tommies improved to 20-0 in Saturday games over the last two seasons. 
Hannon converted 7-of-8 from the floor and added seven rebounds and five assists. Healy had 15 points and four assists; Nicolai closed with 11; Anders Halvorsen had 10; and Brady Ervin had six points, three assists and three rebounds off the bench. UST had a 24-12 edge in bench scoring.
Ian Franks had 22 points to lead the Scots, who had 18 turnovers and shot 41% from the floor. Wooster was outscored 24-12 from 3-point range.

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