A 17-point second half from senior guard Tyler Nicolai helped the men’s basketball team (16-1 overall, 11-1 MIAC) defeat Augsburg (11-6 overall, 6-6 MIAC) 82-66 Wednesday night at Schoenecker Arena.
Nicolai shot more than 60 percent from the field and added six assists to the Tommie win.
“I sort of hit one, and then I started feeling it,” Nicolai said.
Augsburg stayed with the Tommies in the first half by making seven of its nine 3-point attempts. Augsburg guard Ben Flavin led the way, scoring 16 points in the first half alone and making all four 3-point shots.
“You hope they can’t shoot that well, but we knew we had to come out and re-establish ourselves, and that’s the biggest thing we did,” coach Steve Fritz said.
Augsburg cooled down in the second half, and St. Thomas started to pull away thanks to Nicolai’s performance.
The Tommies’ full-court press was too much for the Auggies to handle as they turned the ball over 15 times.
Junior Peter Leslie and senior Teddy Archer led the attack on defense with two steals each. Archer added 10 points and seven rebounds.
“We had a lot of energy and it was good,” Nicolai said. “We had guys flying around all over the place.”
Senior Anders Halvorsen scored 12 points, while junior Tommy Hannon added another 11 points and five rebounds.
“We’re trying to build every day in practice and get better all the way towards March, and we’ll see where we get,” Halvorsen said.
The Tommies will take on Bethel at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Schoenecker Arena.
Michael Ewen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.