SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- Senior All-America guard Tyler Nicolai scored 22 of his season-high 28 points in the second half to power No. 8-ranked St. Thomas to a 72-56 win against No. 7-ranked Augustana (Ill.) and claim the school's first men's basketball semifinals berth in 17 seasons.

The Tommies (28-3) won the school's first NCAA men's basketball playoff game on the opponent's court in six all-time tries.

In the process they silenced a partisan-Augustana crowd of 2,286 fans and handed the Vikings just their second home loss in 16 games this season.

Coach Steve Fritz' Tommies join the 1993-94 St. Thomas team in advancing to the national semifinals. UST will play in Salem, Va., in next Friday's semifinal game against No. 2-ranked Middlebury (Vt.) (27-1). They will attempt to beat their third top-10 ranked team in a row.

Fritz told his players in a jubilant locker room, "Does it get any better than this? You dominated them from beginning to end ," he said. "We're down to four teams in the country, and you're as good as any of them. You're equal to the best team that has ever played here (the 1994 Final Four team), and now you can be the best team."

Nicolai sank six of the Toms' season-high 10 3-pointers. UST raced to a 20-8 lead in the first 7:05, never trailed and shot 53% from the floor for the second night in a row.

Alex Healy had 11 points and five assists, and Tommy Hannon added 11 points and six rebounds.

St. Thomas has won 10 in a row, and its 28 wins are second most in school history. They are 19-0 in Saturday games over the last two seasons.

UST's pressure helped force Augustana (27-4) into 19 turnovers and limit the host school to just 13 field goals and 33-percent shooting from the field. The Vikings stayed in the game by converting 28-of-38 at the foul line as UST was whistled for 27 fouls.

St. Thomas never trailed in the second half of their last three NCAA playoff wins. On Saturday the Toms led 32-25 at halftime. The Vikings pulled within 45-37 with 14:31 left on a try by Brian DeSimone, but Nicolai hit 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions to push the lead to 54-39.

St. Thomas never trailed in the second half of their last three NCAA playoff wins. On Saturday the Toms led 32-25 at halftime. The Vikings pulled within 45-37 with 14:31 left on a try by Brian DeSimone, but Nicolai hit 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions to push the lead to 54-39.

Nicolai made the winning layup with two seconds left in Friday's 66-64 win over defendiing NCAA champ UW-Stevens Point. He now has made 249 3-pointers in 117 career games (all starts), including 30 in his last seven games. In four NCAA playoff wins thus far, Nicolai scored 56 of his 79 points in the second half. He made his first six shots after halftime on Saturday night.

"I got some open looks and knocked 'em down," Nicolai said. He credited his teammates for setting screens: "I was just try to move around, and my teammates got the ball to me."