The Gustavus men’s basketball team will open NCAA Tournament play with a second round game against the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point on Saturday night at 7:00 pm at Gus Young Court in St. Peter. The Pointers advanced with an impressive 84-58 win over Benedictine University (Ill.) on Thursday night in Stevens Point.
The game will be a re-match of last year’s second round game when Gustavus defeated the Pointers 75-62 in Stevens Point. UW-Stevens Point, which finished second in the WIAC during the regular season and then won the postseason tournament, enters the game with a 24-5 record. Gustavus, which won the MIAC regular season title and then won the postseason tournament, enters the game with a 22-5 mark. Both teams have been on a roll late in the season as UW-Stevens Point has won eight of its last nine games and 12 of its last 14, while Gustavus has won eight straight and 15 of its last 16 games.
The two teams play very similiar styles that focus on ball control offense and tenacious man-to-man defense. On offense, the Gusties rank fifth in Division III in field goal percentage at 50.7 percent from the field, while UW-Stevens Point ranks 12th at 49.7 percent. Defensively, Gustavus ranks fourth in Division III in scoring defense allowing 57.2 points per game, while the Pointers rank sixth allowing 57.5 points per game.
The balanced Gustavus offense is led by senior All-American Tim Brown, who is averaging 15.2 points per game, while shooting 54.2 percent from the field and 51.9 percent from three point range. Freshman post Phil Sowden has really stepped up his play in the post season as he averaged 18.5 points per game and 5.0 rebounds per game in the two MIAC Playoff games. Junior forward Doug Espenson, the first player off the bench for the Gusties, is averaging 11.9 points per game.
UW-Stevens Point is led by junior forward Jason Kalsow and junior forward Nick Bennett. Kalsow leads the team in scoring (17.6 ppg), rebounding (7.6 rpg), assists (3.62 apg) and blocks (1.5 bpg). Bennett, the team’s primary perimeter threat, is averaging 15.7 points per game and he has made 67-of-153 treys (43.8%). He is also deadly from the free throw line where he has made 107-of-125 (85.6%).
The winner of Saturday’s second round game will advance to one of four sectional tournaments next Friday and Saturday, March 12-13 at a site to be determined.
Probable Starting Line-ups for Saturday’s game
UW-Stevens Point (24-5)
#10 Guard – Tamaris Relerford (5-8, 165, 4.2 ppg)
#33 Forward – Nick Bennett (6-5, 190, 15.7 ppg)
#34 Forward – Jon Krull (6-4, 220, 4.9 ppg)
#44 Forward – Jason Kalsow (6-7, 225, 17.6 ppg)
#50 Center – Eric Maus (6-9, 210, 8.4 ppg)
Gustavus Adolphus (22-5)
#20 Guard Chris TeBrake (6-1, 170, 8.9 ppg)
#30 Guard Eric Nelson (6-3, 190, 7.2 ppg)
#32 Forward Brett Boese (6-4, 215, 4.4 ppg)
#33 Forward Tim Brown (6-5, 205, 15.2 ppg)
#44 Post Phil Sowden (6-5, 225, 9.3 ppg)
Ticket Information for the game:
Tickets will be on sale on Friday afternoon from noon until 4:30 pm in the athletic office on the second floor of the Lund Center. You can call (507) 933-7617 if you have questions. There will be no will call. Tickets will also be available the day of the game beginning at 5:30 pm at the main entrance to the gymnasium. All tickets are general admission. Tickets costs are $5 for adults and $3 for students (3 and up) and seniors (62 and up).