December 29, 2009

Not just California dreamin' - Pipers upset #8 Wheaton

Hamline took the initial lead in their first action since December 12, as Jordan Schmidt (Fy., Northbrook, Ill.) and Ray Brown (Sr., Saint Paul, Minn.) opened the game with a pair of layups.

Wheaton twice held brief leads in the opening half, but the Pipers were in control of the scoreboard by five points at the break, 35-30.

Brown and Schmidt started the Pipers off strong in the second half as well, with Brown adding five points and Schmidt a jumper to vault Hamline to a 12-point lead, 42-30, at 17:41.

As the second half progresses, a couple of Piper turnovers led to Wheaton baskets, and the Thunder gained their first lead of the second half with just under 10 minutes to play, 53-52.

Noah Aguirre (Fy., Fillmore, Calif.) tied the game for the fifth time, 66-66, on a pair of free throws with 1:37 to play. Hipp (Jr., Little Canada, Minn.) then gave the Pipers a 67-66 lead with 1:01 on the clock with a free throw of his own.

The Thunder had two points from the charity stripe to take a 68-67 lead with 40 seconds left in the game.

A pair of missed Thunder free throws with eight seconds to play kept the Piper deficit at just one point. With 1.1 seconds to play, Hipp hit a running right-handed layup for the game-winning basket and the upset of the #8 team in the D3hoops.com national poll.

Hipp had a game-high 19 points and added nine rebounds and three blocked shots in the win. Schmidt and Brown chipped in 11 points apiece while Aguirre had 10. Schmidt also added nine assists.

The Pipers move to 4-4 overall with the non-conference win while the Thunder are now 6-3. Hamline will now play the hosts, Cal Lutheran, in the championship game on Wednesday, December 30, at 8:00 p.m.