Saint John's wins 2019 MIAC Men’s Basketball Playoff Championship

Saint John's won its first Men's Basketball Playoff championship since 2001 on Saturday.
Saint John's won its first Men's Basketball Playoff championship since 2001 on Saturday.

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – In front of a capacity crowd at Sexton Arena on Saturday night, the Saint John's Johnnies held off the Augsburg Auggies, 82-79, in a back-and-forth thriller to win the 2019 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Men's Basketball Playoff Championship.

2019 MIAC Men's Basketball Playoffs |

Though SJU won the MIAC regular season championship last year, the MIAC Playoff title is the first for Saint John's since the 2000-01 season. With the victory, the Johnnies have assured themselves a spot in the 2019 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament. SJU post Lucas Walford went 10-for-15 for a team-high 22 points, while swingman Jubie Alade scored 20 himself with a perfect 10-for-10 clip from the free throw line in the game. Both players also finished with double-digit rebounds. Meanwhile, Augsburg guard and Player of the Year favorite Booker Coplin scored a game-high 46 points to go along with 11 rebounds in the loss. Coplin and the Auggies played four games over the last seven days, with the junior guard averaging 38.5 points per contest during that span. SJU dominated the paint, scoring 42 points in the lane, compared to 26 by the Auggies. However, Augsburg doubled up the Johnnies from beyond the arc, connecting on 14 three-point shots, against just seven from the Johnnies. The 2019 title game saw five ties and 13 lead changes throughout the contest.

With the win, Saint John's claimed the MIAC's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament. While the Johnnies await their next opponent, the rest of the Conference – including MIAC regular season champion St. Thomas and playoff runner-up Augsburg – will look forward to the Selection Committee's announcement of the 64-team field for the National Tournament on Monday.

2019 MIAC MEN'S BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS
Quarterfinals | Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019 |
No. 4 Augsburg 67, No. 5 St. Olaf 64 | Box Score | Recap |
No. 3 Bethel 93, No. 6 Gustavus 67 | Box Score | Recap |

Semifinals | Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019 |
No. 2 Saint John's 82, No. 3 Bethel 49 | Box Score | Recap |
No. 4 Augsburg 84 at No. 1 St. Thomas 81 | Box Score | Recap |

Championship | Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019
No. 4 Augsburg at No. 2 Saint John's | Box Score |