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Eric Peterson, Published January 21 2010

Tommies too much for Concordia men

Concordia challenged the top team in the league, but its effort wasn’t enough to snap a losing streak.

Tyler Nicolai scored 17 points to lead No. 9-ranked St. Thomas to a 71-63 victory Wednesday in Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball at Memorial Auditorium.

The Cobbers (8-8, 4-7 MIAC) have lost their last four games and last two games at home. Concordia started the season

5-0 at Memorial Auditorium.

“They’re the best team in the league because they don’t make mistakes, and we made a few more mistakes tonight, and that’s why we are on a four-game losing streak,” said Concordia junior John Fraase, who had 19 points and 15 rebounds.

Concordia trimmed the St. Thomas lead as low as three points in the final nine minutes of the game.

However, the Cobbers weren’t able to take a lead in the second half.

“We just couldn’t get over the hump,” Cobbers coach Rich Glas said. “We just made too many little mistakes at times. … We’re getting better, but we’re not to where we need to be yet, and that’s evidenced by having lost four games in a row.”

Concordia cut the St. Thomas lead to 49-46 with 8 minutes, 58 seconds to play after a John Fraase 3-point play.

St. Thomas answered with a 9-2 run. Nicolai capped that surge with a 3-pointer that staked the Tommies to a 58-48 lead with 6:10 remaining. From that point, the Cobbers weren’t able to cut the St. Thomas lead below six points.

“They don’t ever have gaps where they go three minutes without scoring,” Fraase said. “We get a few points, but then they always answer back. They hit good shots and they get a steal and that’s the difference between them and everybody else.”

Nicolai, 5-foot-10 guard, scored eight points in the final 6:10, including two 3-pointers.

Nicolai and Tommies senior guard Joe Scott have made 75 consecutive starts. The Tommies are 67-8 in those games. St. Thomas is 52-3 in games that Nicolai has scored seven or more points.

“You’ve got to credit Tyler Nicolai,” Glas said. “He made some big shots tonight when they needed buckets. That’s why they’re winning. That’s why they’re a championship team and that’s what we’re striving to become.”

ST. THOMAS (14-2, 10-1 MIAC): Eicher 3-4 0-0 6, Nicolai 7-11 0-0 17, Archer 2-6 1-2 5, Scott 4-12 2-2 10, Healy 5-7 3-4 15, Leslie 1-2 0-0 2, DeBerg 0-0 0-0 0, Kaiser 4-6 1-1 10, Halvorsen 0-0 0-0 0, Ervin 3-3 0-0 6, Peltier 0-1 0-0 0, Hannon 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-52 7-9 71.

CONCORDIA (8-8, 4-7): Olmscheid 1-2 2-2 4, Fraase 9-16 1-1 19, Olson 4-8 2-2 11, Hartmann 1-4 0-0 3, Martinson 2-5 0-0 5, Molina 2-2 0-1 4, Nana-Kweson 2-6 2-3 7, Lien 3-8 2-3 10, Lindahl 0-0 0-0 0, Hagemeyer 0-1 0-0 0, Baldwin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-52 9-12 63.

Half: ST 35, CC 29. 3-point goals: ST 6-18 (Nicolai 3-6, Scott 0-6, Healy 2-3, Leslie 0-1, Kaiser 1-2), CC 6-16 (Olson 1-3, Hartmann 1-2, Martinson 1-4, Nana-Kweson 1-2, Lien 2-4, Hagemeyer 0-1). Total fouls: ST 17, CC 14. Rebounds: ST 24 (Hannon 6), CC 29 (Fraase 15). Assists: ST 12 (Healy 5), CC 16 (Martinson 3, Hagemeyer 3). Steals: ST 10 (three players with 2), CC 5 (Olson 2). Turnovers: ST 10 (Healy 3), CC 14 (Martinson 4).


Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.