Senior Noah Kaiser’s 3-point basket with 1:16 broke a 60-60 tie and the No. 1-ranked Tommies (29-1) held on to edge No. 12 Calvin (Mich.), 63-62, in Saturday night’s NCAA Division III playoff men’s basketball game before a standing-room crowd of 1,820 at Schoenecker Arena.
St. Thomas, which advances to the national quarterfinal round for the third time in five years, closed out its home season with a 17-0 record.
The Tommies are 15-0 at home this season on campus in postseason games.
It was just the sixth 3-point basket of the season in 22 games for Kaiser, a forward who’s more of a slasher than a long-range shooter on offense.
UST missed a 3-pointer with 24 seconds left to allow the Knights the chance to win on their last possession. After a time out with 20 seconds to go, Bryan Powell, who scored a game-best 31 points off the bench, missed a 15-footer with :04 to go and Zach Riedeman rebounded and was fouled with :00.7 left.
Riedeman missed two free throws in an attempt to run out the clock but Calvin got a time out after the rebound of the second miss with :00.4 to go. The Knights still needed to go the entire length of the floor, and their baseball pass on the inbounds hit the arena overhead scoreboard and caromed out of bounds to go down as a turnover. That allowed UST to run out the final half second and take the one-point win.
The Tommies, who shot 52 percent from the field, overcame a 9-of-22 night at the foul line. Will DeBerg hit five 3-pointers and finished with 16 points. Erik Tengwall added 12 points and five assists. UST’s defense allso limited the Calvin starters to 22 points as they held their 22nd consecutive opponent under 70 points.
Calvin had a 33-28 rebounding edge and shot 47 percent from the field but converted just 4-of-10 at the foul line. Tim Snikkers added 11 points for the Knights, who had won 20 of their previous 21 games.