Men’s Basketball ends season at the buzzer

With the shot-clock off and just 24.6 seconds left in the game, Augsburg inbounded the ball to junior Booker Coplin who dribbled until the final seconds of the game and hoisted up a game-winning, three-point shot to beat the buzzer. Coplin’s shot defeated the Oles by a score of 67-64 and sent the Auggies to the MIAC semifinals.

St. Olaf stuck with the fourth seeded Auggies throughout the entire game, as the score differed by a single possession for all 40 minutes. With just 58 seconds left in the game, forward Austin Korba ’19 hit a clutch three-pointer to tie the game at 64 apiece.  Unfortunately, it was Coplin’s heroics that decided the outcome of the game. His 33 points and 15 rebounds led the way for the Auggies.

For St. Olaf, Korba’s impressive double-double effort of 22 points and 10 rebounds was not enough to get the win. Nate Albers ’20  and Noah Beck ’20 both contributed with 15 and 12 points, respectively.

St. Olaf played Augsburg tough all season. On Jan. 19 at the Bob Gelle Court, St. Olaf took Augsburg to overtime but eventually lost 96-89. Troy Diggins Jr. ’20 led the charge with 21 points on only 25 minutes.

“I could not have done it without my teammates.” – Austin Korba ’19

In their second matchup during the regular season, St. Olaf avenged their overtime loss with a win on the road, 86-80.

Tuesday’s game brought an end to the successful careers of five St. Olaf seniors. Korba, Ben Scheffley  ’19, Sam Stensgard ’19, Frank Delaney ’19 and Jake Lyle ’19 clinched two NCAA Tournament appearances, three MIAC Playoff berths and 63 total wins.

Korba also became the 22nd player in St. Olaf history to reach the 1,000 career-point milestone. His 1,149 points will put him 11th on St. Olaf’s all-time scoring list.

“I could not have done it without my teammates,” Korba said. “It was an awesome four years playing under Coach Kozmoski. I’ll miss every minute of it next year.”

Korba was named All-MIAC First Team, with Dominic Bledsoe ’21 and Diggins Jr. named All-MIAC Honorable Mention. Lyle also represented St. Olaf on the MIAC All-Sportsmanship Team.

St. Olaf finished the season with an overall record of 13-13 (12-8 conference) with key, regular season victories over Bethel and Augsburg. Despite the team’s .500 record, their schedule was full of stiff competition. They opened the season with tough non-conference opponents in No. 12 University of Wisconsin – Steven’s Point and No. 6 ranked Whitworth University. They also had a culmination of four matchups against No. 5 ranked University of St. Thomas and No. 11 ranked St. John’s University. The team did sweep its season series over its cross-town rival in Carleton College to bring back the historic goat trophy. It was the second year in a row and sixth time out of the last seven seasons that St. Olaf participated in the MIAC playoffs.

With three returning starters, an abundance of experience throughout the roster and a number of commitments from high school players, St. Olaf looks to continue its reputation of success by reaching the MIAC playoffs once again and fighting for yet another NCAA Tournament appearance.