February 18, 2012

Pipers Win But Miss MIAC Playoffs

The Piper men's BB team went into Saturday's game at Macalester knowing they could only do one thing themselves -- win their game and hope to get help to make the conference playoffs. It took a while ... and there were some nerve-wracking moments along the way ... but Hamline outlasted the Scots, 65-58, at Leonard Center to finish 2011-12 with a winning overall record (13-12) and a tie for fifth place in the MIAC with a 11-9 mark.

Unfortunately, the teams they were tied with -- St. John's and Bethel -- both won as well and will advance to the playoffs via the tiebreaker system.

The Scots didn't look like a team that had won only one game all season. They stayed close to the Pipers for the first 15 minutes of play and then used a 10-1 run late  to go into the locker room  at halftime with a 33-26 lead. In the second half, they pushed the lead to as many as nine points before Hamline began a fierce rally that eventually tied the game at 48 with 8:26 to play.

It was a neck and neck horse race the rest of the way. There were four more ties until Mike Campbell, who made his final game as a Piper a memorable one (19 points, 12 rebounds and a steal) hit a pair of free throws with 2:29 to start a 7-0 string that decided the game in the Pipers' favor.

Campbell was one of four Pipers in double digits. Noah Aguirre and  Brandon Rieg (also playing his last game)  scored 13 points while Al Tillman added 11.

Campbell's solid effort solidified his membership on several Top Ten Lists. In just two years at HU, he moved to sixth on the Free Throws Made list with 222. He is also eighth in Steals with 106 and Field Goal Percentage (.513). He stands 10th all-time in Points Per game average (minimum 48 games). He easily led the MIAC in Steals with 63 and finished as the team's leader in many offensive categories in 2011-12, including points (14.2 ppg) and rebounds (5.4).

Levi Wennrich, who led the team with 66 assists, had one Saturday and will leave HU in fifth place all-time with 276 total.