Sophomore guard Marcus Alipate made his last six shots from 3-point range, five after halftime, and recorded a team-high 18 points as the newly-tabbed No. 1-ranked Tommies (15-0 overall, 10-0 MIAC) pulled away for Monday night's 94-64 men's basketball victory at St. Olaf (5-9, 4-5).
St. Thomas' 15 3-point baskets tied its 21-year-old school record for most threes made in one game. The Toms converted 15-of-30 from behind the arc, by seven different shooters. They made 4-of-15 to start the game then hit their last two treys of the first half and 9-of-13 in the second half.
UST's previous high of 15 was recorded in 1991-92 in an overtime loss against Bethel when current head coach John Tauer was a freshman sixth man.
The Tommies, 6-0 in the last 13 days, have built a 2 1-2 game lead over second-place Augsburg and Concordia. They have built leads of at least 25 points in each of their last five games.
The Toms, now 8-0 on the road, had only 11 turnovers and shot 57 percent from the floor (33-of-58). UST recorded 51 bench points, and had four players score in double figures.
Three 3-pointers by Will DeBerg helped St. Thomas build a quick 17-4 lead. After St. Olaf climbed within 26-21, the Toms used a 12-4 run to close the first half, capped by John Nance's 3-pointer.
The Oles got within 39-31 early in the second half, but a 19-5 Tommie run, capped by back-to-back Alipate threes, built the margin to 58-36.
The Tommies started this season at No. 11 in the national poll after returning 10 of their top 11 players from a 22-7 team. In the last five polls, UST climbed from No. 5 to 4 to 3 to 2 and now to No. 1. St. Thomas received 18 of 25 first-place votes this week and sits just ahead of Rochester (N.Y) and Middlebury (Vt.).
It's the third time in five years, and second time in the regular season, that Tommie men's basketball has been ranked No. 1 in the poll. The 2008-09 Toms (30-1) held the top spot for six weeks before losing in the national quarterfinals to eventual NCAA champ Washington (Mo.). In 2010-11, St. Thomas won its last 12 games to secure the MIAC's first NCAA men's basketball championship.
The Tommies are home Wednesday (7:30 p.m.) to face Macalester.
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