Junior Garrett Goetz' only field-goal try of the second half was money -- his 12-foot jumper with under :05 to go broke a 78-78 tie and lifted No. 4-seed St. John's (19-8) to a 80-78 road win over top-seed St. Thomas (19-7) in Thursday night's MIAC men's basketball playoff game in Schoenecker Arena.
Sophomore David Stokman scored 21 of his game-high 23 points in the second half for the Johnnies, who avenged two regular-season losses to the Tommies in each of the last two seasons.
St. John's advances to Saturday night's MIAC playoff title game at second-seed Bethel. The Johnnies' last MIAC playoff crown in men's hoops was in 2001.
The Tommies, the 2015-16 NCAA champions and 2016-17 conference co-champs, had a streak of MIAC playoff championship-game berths end at six. Coach John Tauer's team is now on the bubble for at-large consideration into the national playoff field. UST has had 11 consecutive NCAA playoff appearances and 11 20-win seasons in a row.
UST senior point guard Grant Shaeffer played all 40 minutes and finished with 21 points and seven assists, including his team's final six points. Michael Hannon scored 22 points off the bench, including a game-best five treys.
The Johnnies led 43-39 at half and pushed the lead to 59-45 in the first six minutes of the second half. But St. Thomas used a 23-5 run over the next six minutes to lead by four. The game was a chess match down the stretch as Stokman made two baskets in the final 70 seconds only to have Shaeffer counter for the Toms.
Shaeffer made two free throws with 28 seconds to go to tie the game 78-78. The Johnnies held the ball for a late shot. Stokman penetrated, dished to Goetz who drove from the wing into the paint and hit a fade-away shot with :02.3 to go.
After two time outs, UST was unable to get off a desperation shot.
St. Thomas' No. 2 scorer and rebounder, junior forward Ryan Boll, missed the game with an illness. He started all 33 games last season on the national title team and started all but two games thus far this season. UST lost both games with Boll out of the lineup this winter.