Men’s basketball’s playoff run ends in Collegeville

Kevin Sethre, Staff Writer

Men’s basketball finished the season with a 13–7 conference record, earning them a fourth seed in the MIAC playoffs. In the first round, they hosted St. Olaf and won 67–64 on a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Booker Coplin. In the semifinals, they visited St. Thomas. During the game, the Auggies had a 20-point second-half lead, but the Tommies came back to tie at 81 with under a minute to go. Matt Carik hit a three from the corner with twelve seconds left to secure the dramatic 84–81 win.

The Auggies traveled to Collegeville for the championship game against St. John’s.  Early sharpshooting gave Augsburg a 24–11 lead, but the Johnnies caught fire and eventually took a 37–33 lead into halftime. A back-and-forth second half saw eight lead changes. With 1.9 seconds left, Augsburg had one last chance to inbound the ball and tie the game. Unfortunately, Henry Mulligan’s three-pointer fell short, and St. John’s won 82–79.

The Auggies made 41.2 percent of their three-pointers in the game, and Coplin had a career-high 46 points. One of the main reasons for the loss was St. John’s 15 offensive rebounds.

On Monday, the Auggies found out that they had not been selected for the NCAA Division-III national tournament despite finishing with a 19–9 overall record, making the MIAC championship game and beating the number-13 ranked team in the country (St. Thomas) twice.

Coplin was named the 2019 MIAC Joe Hutton Player of the Year on Tuesday. He was also named to the All-MIAC first team as well as the MIAC All Defensive Team. Coplin led the team in points, rebounds, blocks and steals. Carik, who earned All-MIAC third team honors, lead the team with 4.9 assists per game. Mark Della Vedova, Brent Kinder and Kevin McKiernan were all seniors this season. Della Vedova and McKiernan both earned All-MIAC honors this season, and Kinder was named to the All-MIAC Sportsmanship Team his junior year.

The Auggies will look to build off of a successful campaign and reach the MIAC playoffs for the fifth year in a row.

This article was originally published in the March 1, 2019 issue.