Freshman guard Anders Nelson scored all 18 of his points in the second half, including nine during a game-closing 22-10 run over the final 8:10, as the host Tommies rallied past Bethel, 68-65, in MIAC men's basketball play Wednesday night at Schoenecker Arena.
The Tommies (5-1 overall, 2-0 MIAC) had only seven turnovers and shot 60 percent from the floor in the second half as they pushed their season winning streak to five. They used a 16-7 edge in bench points to help in their big comeback.
Bethel (3-4, 1-1) led 33-22 at halftime and built a 15-point cushion four minutes into the second half before its offense stalled down the stretch. Over the final 5:00, the Royals made no baskets, going 0-for-6 from the floor, and scored just three free throws.
Nelson sank both ends of a 1-and-1 situation with 13 seconds left to extend the Tommie lead to 68-65. Matt Ambriz' long trey to tie in the final seconds bounced high off the rim and was snared by St. Thomas and the clock expired.
For Bethel, Jack Jensen scored a game-high 22 points, and center Derek Magnuson had 17 points and 10 rebounds. Bethel had a 39-31 rebounding advantage but was called for 17 turnovers.
Connor Bair and Michael Hannon each scored 13 points for the Tommies, while Ryan Lindberg scored eight and GT Johnson added seven boards. Off the bench, Tommy Anderson scored eight points and Burt Hedstrom had five assists.
In a scoreless first half, Nelson missed all four of his shots and had three turnovers in 14 minutes of play. In playing 19 of 20 minutes after the break, he contributed 18 points, four rebounds and four assists to spark the turnaround.
St. Thomas is home Saturday to play Carleton (3 p.m.).