Senior Tommy Hannon had 16 points and 12 rebounds and the host Tommies sank 6-of-6 free throws in the final 39 seconds to hold off UW-Stevens Point, 68-63, in Friday night's battle of unbeaten, top-five ranked men's basketball teams at UST's Schoenecker Arena.
A season-best crowd of 1,200 watched the No. 4-ranked Tommies (9-0) use a 36-26 rebounding edge to hand the No. 5-ranked Pointers (9-1) their first defeat.
Joe Ritchay and Clayton Heuer each scored 16 points for Stevens Point, which had only seven turnovers. Point led 27-26 at halftime but never led in the final 18:00. The Pointers did whittle an 11-point Tommie lead to one in the final 70 seconds.
PHOTO: Tommy Hannon
UST's Will DeBerg scored 15 points, including two free throws with 39 seconds to go to build the lead to 64-61. Point missed a 15-foot shot with 19 seconds to go and John Nance rebounded for UST. Erik Tengwall was fouled and mde both two free throws with 18 seconds left.
Tyler Tillema's layup with :11 to go cut the lead to three, but DeBerg was fouled and sank two free throws with :08 remaining.
Tillema, Point's leading scorer on the season at 18.5 ppg, was slowed by an ankle sprain and didn't start. He finished with 14 points in 28 minutes.
Zach Riedeman, who scored seven points off the bench, banked in a 55-foot shot as time expired in the first half to give the Tommies a lift going into halftime.
Noah Kaiser had 12 points and seven assists for St. Thomas, which shot 48 percent from the floor, had just 10 turnovers and made nine of its last 10 free throws.
The Tommies are home Jan. 2 to play Carleton, the first of 11 January games.
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