Dean steals the show

By Bruce Bachmeier
The Forum
The marquee matchup may have been Daimen Crump vs. Karnell James, but Concordia guard Greg Dean stole the show.

Dean, who leads NCAA Division III with 5.1 steals per game, ravaged the Tommies' offense Saturday. He forced 10 turnovers to lift the Cobbers to a 59-51 victory in Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball at Memorial Auditorium.

Dean also leads the MIAC in assists with 6.1 a game. He raised that average too, tallying seven on the day.

The Cobbers (11-9, 10-7 MIAC) never trailed after the opening three minutes and controlled the the Tommies.

But Cobbers coach Duane Siverson said he was most pleased with his team's defense.

"We pick it up full-court and make people play our tempo," Siverson said. "We disrupted their offensive continuity and we rebounded well. I thought that was the difference in the game."

For Dean and the Cobbers, the critical point came with just over five minutes left in the game. St. Thomas had capped a six-point run with a layup from Joe Buri to cut the Cobbers' lead to three.

But Dean and Crump, a fellow senior, and the Cobbers' defense buckled down. The result was nine unanswered points that put the game out of reach.

"We hit the big shots, then (went) back and played hard on defense," Dean said. "That really got us going in the second half."

Crump scored 10 of his team-high 23 points during a three-minute stretch during the Cobbers' decisive run. He hit two 3-pointers and was the recipient of a layup and dunk from passes by Dean and Cornelius Bishop.

"Everybody had to step up and face the pressure and just keep on going at them," Crump said.

In addition to his offense, Crump also had to deal with St. Thomas' James, one of the league's premier players. Crump was matched against him for most of the game and the players effectively canceled each other out.

James finished with a game-high 24 points, but shot just 36 percent from the field (9 of 25). For the game, the Tommies shot a dismal 30.5 percent.

"We obviously didn't shoot very well," St. Thomas coach Steve Fritz said. "Holding them to 59 points is as well as you're going to do."

If the Cobbers win their three remaining games (against Hamline, Augsburg and Bethel), they are assured a spot the MIAC's four-team postseason tournament. They still have a chance to place second in the conference, a spot now held by St. Thomas.

ST. THOMAS (51): Stephens 0-0 0-0 0, Roswick 0-1 1-2 1, James 9-25 4-6 24, Buri 2-5 1-2 5, Arnold 4-13 0-0 10, Sparby 2-13 4-6 9, Warren 1-1 0-0 2, Fritz 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 18-59 10-16 51.

CONCORDIA (59): Dean 4-6 2-5 10, Benson 0-1 0-0 0, Bishop 1-4 2-2 5, Guida 2-4 0-1 4, Crump 10-22 1-2 23, Gillhouse 1-3 0-1 2, Pearson 4-7 0-0 10, Kesselring 0-0 0-0 0, Klabo 1-5 3-5 5. Totals: 23-52 8-16 59.

Halftime: Concordia 35, St. Thomas 22. Total fouls: St. Thomas 17, Concordia 17. Fouled out: None. 3-point goals: St. Thomas 5-23 (Roswick 0-1, James 2-7, Arnold 2-6, Sparby 1-9), Concordia 5-12 (Bishop 1-4, Guida 0-1, Crump 2-2, Gillhouse 0-1, Pearson 2-4). Rebounds: St. Thomas 42 (Sparby 9), Concordia 37 (Klabo 15). Steals: St. Thomas 10 (James 3, Sparby 3), Concordia 15 (Dean 10). Assists: St. Thomas 7 (three with 2), Concordia 12 (Dean 7). Turnovers: St. Thomas 14 (James 3, Buri 3), Concordia 13 (Dean 3).

1996-97 Cobber Basketball