SALEM, Va. — Senior guard Will DeBerg scored 20 points and guided a huge second-half momentum swing as No. 1-ranked St. Thomas (Minn.) moved into the national semifinals with Friday’s 82-79 victory against No. 8-ranked Williams in the NCAA Division III men’s basketball playoffs in Salem, Va.
The Tommies (30-1) erased a 12-point late first-half deficit for their biggest comeback win of the season.
The Toms have won 11 of their last 12 playoff games in the last three seasons and ran their season win streak to 14.
St. Thomas tied a school record with 15 3-point baskets (15-of-25), including trys from six different shooters. In the second half, DeBerg made three treys and sank another two with his foot on the bonus line.
Zach Riedeman added 15 points, John Nance had 10 points and six assists, Tommy Hannon contributed nine points and nine rebounds, Marcus Alipate had nine points, and Erik Tengwall had eight points and seven boards.
James Klemm had 20 points and seven rebounds to lead Williams.
UST’s 45-21 advantage in 3-point scoring offset torrid field-goal shooting by the Ephs (26-5), who made 65 percent in the first half and 58 percent on the game.
St. Thomas’ pressure forced Williams into 11 second-half turnovers. That helped UST overcome 47-35 halftime deficit. The Tommies used a 20-9 advantage in bench scoring and a 15-2 mid-game run to recover from a poor start which produced Williams leads of 18-7 and 47-35
The Toms trailed 63-62 when Riedeman made two free throws with 8:36 to go to start a 9-0 run and erase the final Williams lead.
The Tommies had a late eight-point lead but made it interesting with two missed free throws and a turnover on back-to-back possessions in the final 40 seconds. Williams had the ball with a chance to tie with :09 remaining but was unable to make either of two late attempts with the clock expiring.