The Gustavus men’s basketball team moved to 2-0 in the MIAC with an impressive 80-57 win over Concordia in St. Peter on Saturday afternoon. The Gusties put on a shooting clinic during the contest making 30-of-48 shots from the field (62.5%), including 12-of-16 from three-point range (75.0%). Doug Espenson turned in a strong all-around performance for Gustavus with 19 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks. He made 7-of-10 shots from the field and 4-of-5 from three-point range. The Gusties improve to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in the MIAC, while Concordia falls to 0-2 in the MIAC and 1-4 overall.
Three of the Gusties first five made baskets were from behind the arc allowing Coach Mark Hanson’s squad to jump out to an early 9-3 lead. Espenson continued the long-range onslaught with back-to-back treys midway through the first half to extend the Gustie lead to nine at 16-7. The Espenson’s three-point baskets were followed by a 14-4 Gustavus run that increased the Gustavus lead to 19 at 30-11 with 9:16 left in the half. The Cobbers outscored the Gusties 17-15 in the final nine minutes of the half, but Gustavus held a comfortable 17-point lead (45-28) at the intermission. The Gusties shot 57.1 percent from the field (16-28), and 72.7 percent from three-point range in the first half (8-11), the Cobbers made 38.1 percent from the field (8-21) and 50 percent from three-point range (1-2).
Gustavus continued its red-hot shooting in the second half and increased its lead to 22 points at 55-33 at the 15:50 mark. The Cobbers countered with a 19-12 run over the next eight minutes and trailed by 15 (67-52) with 7:07 left to play in the contest. However, Gustavus exploded for a 9-1 run to claim its biggest lead of the game at 24 (77-53) at the 3:50 mark.
As impressive as the Gusties shooting was in the first half, they picked up the pace in the second half making 70.0 percent of their shots from the field (14-20) and 80.0 percent from behind the arc (4-5).
Joining Espenson in double figures for Gustavus were Andrew Olson with 13 and Adam TeBrake with 12. Freshman Trevor Wittwer turned in the finest performance of his young career with nine points, four rebounds and two assists. Junior wing Trent Hollerich also had a big day with seven points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Concordia was led by David Eckhoff with 19 points and Jason Miller with 16. Miller was 7-of-7 from the field and 2-of-2 from the free throw line.
The win was the sixth straight for the Gusties over the Cobbers and 16th in the last 17 games dating back to March of 1996.