The University of St. Thomas basketball team this week traveled west for their first conference matchups of the season. They could not have asked for a better way to be introduced to Summit League play as their matchups were against the weakest teams in the conference.
This was a tale of two halves. St Thomas was ferocious out of the gate in their first conference game. In the locker room at the half, Coach Derrin Hansen must have had a Herb Brooks-level speech to motivate his Omaha Mavericks. They came storming, almost all the way back, with 50 second half points, impressive for any team in the Summit League. Miller and Nelson led the way for UST scoring 22 a piece. Omaha used their bench depth more in the second half, Fidler with 18 off the bench almost put the Mavs in a position to win.
Tragic. Devastation. Gut-Wrenching. I was fortunate to have had the presence of mind to not pay 100 dollars for Pioneers-All Access, so I certainly saved myself some mental anguish by listening to Corbu Stathes on the radio. The Finnish Freak, Touko Tainamo provided the best ending to a conference game that the Summit League has seen all season so far. Coban Porter v Riley Miller’s 3 point shooting contest was an absolute treat. Denver had an atrocious first half, followed up by a second half where it seemed like every shot went in when it mattered. Officiating in this game may have been the difference, the refs called a tight game, specifically related to Charge/Blocking fouls. Brooks Allen had an off-game for sure going 0-8 from the field. It is sort of cliche when an away team loses in Denver that it is the fault of the altitude change. I think that given the short turaround time between games, it could have had an impact.
Theme to the Game:
UST plays at a pace that appears to be unsustainable with their current depth. They might be the best 8 minute offense in the conference. They are however missing Bjorklund still, and have not introduced Courtney Brown Jr. who could take some pressure off of the UST Shooters. I think that their second half woes simply come down to fatigue that comes with have 4 guys taking 30 shots per half. They know how to get open, and get the same looks in the second half but struggle to make them. Having a greater down low scoring threat would allow UST to play a more balanced game against these conference opponents. The way these games are going it looks like UST needs to score 80 to win these conference games. The Toms need a return of the D3 Big 3 sooner rather than later.
Miller v Curry
I got some flack for comparing Riley Miller’s current 3 pointer production with the D1 single season record holder Steph Curry. I am going to do it again. Miller through 13 games has scored 61. Curry through that first 13 games (which oh by the way also included some cupcake games vs non D-1 opponents like UST) scored ONLY 52.
I see you!
I really like the way that Dom Martinelli played against Northland, he played with a fantastic level of aggression, and made the most out of the minutes he was given.
Brooks Allen has done a superb job while Bjorklund has been absent, he is exceeding even the most optimistic expectations with his recent performances.
Ben Nau off the bench with some clutch 3 Point shooting in the Denver game almost made the difference.
12/29-North Central 7PM–Easy Win, will be fun to see the bench guys get some more minutes.
1/1-WIU 2PM–Conference home opener! It will be a good way to spend some time on a sports filled New Year’s day. Winnable game for UST, as WIU will be coming off a physical game with Iowa on that Wednesday. This should be a high scoring affair. Ironically, WIU’s best player is D3 transfer Will Carius. D3 basketball is apparently the most underutilized talent pool for D1 programs.
What’s the deal with haphazard way that UST is treated when it comes to statistics and rankings on websites like NCAA.com and ESPN.com? It seems like they are being shadow banned from the stat sheet. UST right now is operating in the dark real of stats, in that in order to find them you have to know where to look. Summit league teams would be best served putting on their A-Game when they visit OShag, because the way that UST is ranked would qualify a team for a coveted Quad 3 win.