February 16, 2011

Pipers comeback late to defeat Oles in OT, clinch top 4 seed

The win guarantees the Pipers a top four seed, and a first round home game, in the MIAC tournament.

Hipp (Sr., Little Canada, Minn.) entered the game needing 13 points to get to the 1500 career point milestone. He tallied 14 in the game.

Hamline led briefly by two in the opening pair of minutes, but the Oles took an early lead in the first half, and held onto it, leading by eight at the break, 31-23.

St. Olaf shot just over 39% in the first half (13-of-33) while the Pipers shot near 44% (10-of-23).

Hipp led the Pipers in scoring in the opening 20 minutes with eight points. Stu Neville (Jr., Eden Prairie, Minn.) had 13 first half points for the Oles.

The visitors would hang on to their lead in the second half, holding a 10-point advantage, 60-50, with 5:22 remaining in the game.

That's when Hamline's attack from the perimeter began, as Christian Taber (So., Brooklyn Park, Minn.) drained the first three at 4:28.

He added a second just 24 seconds to get the Pipers within four, 60-56, as the teams approached the four-minute mark. A Piper jumper combined with a trio of free throws, while Neville hit a short shot for St. Olaf, to get Hamline to within three, 64-61, with 54 seconds to play.

The final key shot from long range came as Noah Aguirre (So., Fillmore, Calif.) drained a shot from three feet beyond the top of the arc with 26.1 seconds to play in the game.

St. Olaf inbounded the ball and called timeout after crossing half-court with 19.6 seconds on the clock. A missed Ole layup was rebounded by Hipp, and the game went into overtime as Aguirre's buzzer-beater attempt from half-court missed.

In overtime, Hamline went 13-for-16 from the free throw line while St. Olaf was only sent to the line for four shots, making all of them.

With two minutes remaining on the clock, Connor Gunderson (Fy., Austin, Minn.) tied the game, 71-71. The next basket didn't come for well over a minute, but it was a key one for the Pipers.

Hipp put up a layup with 50.4 seconds on the clock, scoring career points number 1500 and 1501, and providing the final lead change of the game. The Pipers put in six more free throws, and a late three from the Oles to tie failed, and Hamline took the overtime victory. 

Mike Campbell (Jr., Burnsville, Minn.) led Hamline with 18 points while Hipp tallied the 14 and Aguirre added 12. St. Olaf was led by 25 points and 11 rebounds from Neville.

Aguirre also added four steals for the Pipers, including one in the final seconds of regulation that prevented the Oles from a buzzer-beater attempt of their own.

Hamline is now 15-8, 13-5 MIAC while St. Olaf is 16-7, 11-7 MIAC. The Pipers will play their final road game of the regular season on Wednesday, February 16, at St. Thomas. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.