|Zach Riedeman had 15 points
for St. Thomas, including two of the Tommies' 15
Photo by Pat Coleman, D3sports.com
Senior guard Will DeBerg scored 20 points and guided a huge second-half momentum swing as No. 1 St. Thomas moved into the national semifinals with Friday's 82-79 victory over No. 8-ranked Williams in Friday's first quarterfinal, while Mary Hardin-Baylor joined them in the national semifinals by rallying to defeat St. Mary's (Md.) 69-66.
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No. 2 Amherst and No. 3 North Central (Ill.) advanced into the second national semifinal, as the Lord Jeffs defeated Cabrini 101-82 and the Cardinals put Middlebury away 77-65.
North Central blew the game open with a 16-2 run in the second half, including four 3-pointers, as held the Panthers at bay the rest of the night. The Cardinals (28-3) shot 8-for-16 from beyond the arc for the game, led by 4-for-7 shooting and 31 points from Vince Kmiec.
The Cru fell behind 48-38 with 14:14 left in the game before cutting the gap to 51-50 following behind four points apiece from Kitrick Bell, Sidney Deloach and Thomas Orr.
St. Mary's pushed it back to six points at 60-54 with 4:49 left to play. Bell converted a three-point play, Cory Meals hit a jumper and Layton Zinsmeister buried a three to tie the game at 62 with 3:02 remaining. The Seahawks would score at the other end, but Meals swished a three to give the Cru the lead for good at 65-64 with 2:19 on the clock.
Brian Todd's dunk stretched the lead to three, but Brandon McFall's put-back closed the gap to 67-66 with 1:18 left. St. Mary's turned the ball over with nine seconds to play and Orr hit two free throws to give UMHB a 69-66 edge. St. Mary's had one final shot, but a three was off the mark at the buzzer, setting off a wild celebration on the UMHB bench.
The Tommies (30-1) erased a 12-point late first-half deficit and posted their biggest comeback victory of the season.
They will play at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday against either Mary Hardin-Baylor or St. Mary's (Md.) with a trip to the April 7 NCAA title game at stake.
The Toms have won 17 of their 18 postseason games over the last three seasons, including 11 of 12 in the NCAA playoffs. They ran their season win streak to 14.
St. Thomas tied a school record with 15 3-point baskets (15-of-25), including treys from six different shooters. In the second half, DeBerg made three treys and sank another long jumper with his foot on the bonus line.
Willy Workman scored 13 of his 21 points in the second half to help lead the second-ranked Amherst men to a 101-82 victory over Cabrini.
With the game tied at 24-24 early in the first half, Amherst (28-2) used a 20-6 run over the final seven minutes of the frame to take a 14-point edge into the intermission. With the Cavaliers (25-6) back within nine with under eight to go, the Jeffs reeled off a 20-9 spurt over a span of 5:19 to win going away. Snapping Cabrini's 14-game win streak, the Purple & White picked up their 22nd-consecutive victory, advancing to its first Final Four (fifth overall) since finishing as the national runner-up in 2008.