MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Senior Noah Kaiser hit arguably the biggest shot of his career, a 3-pointer with just more than a minute left, to lift St. Thomas over Calvin 63-62 in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division III Playoffs Saturday night.
Kaiser finished with nine points, but his perimeter jumper sent the Tommies to Salem, Va., the site of this year’s national quarterfinals and semifinals. Calvin had a chance to win the game late, but Bryan Powell’s off balance jumper bounced off the front rim with four seconds left. Powell led all scorers in the game with 31 points, including six 3-pointers.
Will DeBerg led St. Thomas with 16 points, including 5-of-9 shooting from three-point range. Erik Tengwall added 11 points as the Tommies shot 52 percent from the field in the win despite shooting just 41 percent from the free-throw line and committing f15 turnovers.
Calvin led 7-0 early before St. Thomas made a run and eventually led 31-26 at the half. The Tommies led by as many as 15 points in the second half before Powell scored 11 straight points to get Calvin back in the game.
The two teams went back and forth late in the game and Calvin tied the contest 60-60 on a Tyler Dykstra dunk. Kaiser made a 3-pointer after faking a pass to a teammate with 1:13 left in regulation that proved to be the game-winning shot.
St. Thomas (29-1), ranked No. 1 in Division III, will face Williams College (26-4) out of Massachusetts, at noon Friday in a national quarterfinal. Williams beat Virginia Wesleyan 84-75 to advance and face the Tommies. The WCCO Tommies Blog will preview Friday’s matchup later this week.