WHITEWATER, Wis. – Chrishawn Orange hit a 3-point shot at the buzzer to cap an 11-point rally in the final minute and lead Augustana to a 77-74 win over St. Thomas in the opening round of the NCAA Division III tournament Friday night.
The Tommies (19-8) lost an opening-round playoff game on a buzzer beater for the second time in three years. Northwestern of Roseville knocked off St. Thomas with a 3-pointer as time expired in 2015.
Ryan Boll led St. Thomas with 20 points, including 16 in the first half. Three other Tommies scored in double figures: John Veil had 13, all in the second half, followed by 12 each for Grant Shaeffer and Connor Bair.
St. Thomas took its biggest lead at 74-66 with one minute to go. The Vikings hit two layups and forced a turnover that turned into another layup to cut their deficit to 74-72 with 25 seconds to go. Will Dunn missed two free throws and Augustana made two, tying the game with 10 seconds remaining. An offensive foul on the Tommies gave the ball back to Augustana with 3.7 seconds left and Orange drove down and hit a shot from the top of the key for the win.
Boll had a red-shot first half, scoring 16 points on 4 of 7 shooting and eight free throws, and also hauled down six rebounds. But the Tommies struggled otherwise, shooting only 34 percent for the half and missing all nine of their 3-point attempts. Shaeffer was held scoreless for the first 10 minutes and didn't sink his first field goal until the 16-minute mark.
Most of Augustana's points came on layups, putbacks and shots in the paint as the Vikings took advantage of their size inside. Freshman Micah Martin, a 6-10 center, had nine points. Augustana also failed to make any 3-pointers in the first half.