Sophomore guard Ryan Lindberg scored 15 points and led a 3-point shooting blitz that lifted No. 13-ranked St. Thomas to Saturday night’s stunning 70-58 road upset of No. 1-ranked Nebraska Wesleyan in NCAA men’s basketball second-round play in Lincoln, Neb.
How do you celebrate a win over Number 1 in the NCAA Tournament?
— St. Thomas Athletics (@TommieAthletics) March 3, 2019
The Tommies (24-4) sank 15-of-40 from behind the arc, with eight different players making at lest one 3-pointer and Lindberg leading with four.
St. Thomas helped limit the 2018 national champions to 20 second-half points and ended NWU’s 23-game home-court win streak. It was the Prairie Wolves’ lowest scoring night in more than five years covering 156 games.
The Tommies will play Guilford College of Greensboro, N.C., next Friday night at a site to be announced, likely at UW-Oshkosh. The Quakers won 70-61 at home over Wittenberg (Ohio).
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The Prairie Wolves (27-2) went 0-for-13 from behind the arc after halftime, after taking a 38-37 lead into the break. St. Thomas made 13 first-half baskets, including 11 treys and two two-pointers.
St. Thomas had only 11 turnovers, outrebounded NWU 42-35, and had a 21-6 advantage in bench points. Connor Bair had 12 points and five rebounds, and Michael Hannon chipped in nine points.
Freshman point guard Anders Nelson had seven points, 10 rebounds and six assists, and fellow freshman Riley Miller added eight points.
The Tommies, who lost 10 road games last season in an uncharacteristic 14-12 finish, have won 13 of their last 14 games this season away from home. They advance to the Sweet 16 round for the fifth time in the last 11 seasons.
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Nate Schimonitz had 15 points and six rebounds to lead the Prairie Wolves.
Lindberg made 10-of-19 from 3-point range on the two Tommie wins in Lincoln as he led his team in scoring with 24 and 15 points in the victories.
The Toms have outscored opponents by 411 points behind the arc in 28 games this season.
This was the second time in four seasons that a John Tauer-coached St. Thomas team beat a No. 1-ranked men’s team on the road in the NCAA playoffs by a double-digit margin. The current seniors were freshmen in March 2016 when the Toms eliminated Augustana (Ill.) 86-76 in Rock Island to advance to the Final Four. That team won two more the next weekend to take the NCAA championship.