The Gustavus men’s basketball team battled Carleton to the wire but came up short in a 65-59 loss to the Knights, who extended their MIAC win streak to 12 games. The Gusties cut the lead to two at 59-57 with :26 left on the clock, but Carleton made six consecutive free throws in the final :20 seconds to hold on for the win. Carleton improves to 14-5 overall and 11-3 in the MIAC, while Gustavus drops to 13-6 overall and 8-6 in the MIAC.
Gustavus got off to a quick start and led 7-0 through the first four minutes of the game. The Gusties continued to roll and held an eight point lead at 28-20 with 7:10 left in the half. The Knights however, would counter with a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 28-27 with 4:57 on the clock. Carleton took its first lead of the game at 34-32 on a three-point basket by Zach Johnson at the 1:23 mark. Gustavus sophomore Trevor Wittwer made two free throws to the score at 34-34 with 1:01 left in the half. Neither team could score in the final minute and the two squads entered the lockerroom with the score knotted at 34-34.
Carleton scored the first six points of the second half to take a 40-34 lead and the Knights would not relinquish the lead the rest of the game. The Gusties would battle back to tie the score at 41-41 five minutes into the second half, but Carleton struck right back with six consecutive points to take a 47-41 lead. The Knights would post their biggest lead of the game at seven points (54-47) on two free throws by Dan Forkrud with 6:37 left to play. The Gusties cut the Knights lead to three at 54-51 on a basket by Adam TeBrake and then forced a turnover on the next possession. Freshman Robbie Schmidt had a open look at a three-point basket that would have tied the score with 3:41 left on the clock, but the shot rattled out. Carleton came down the floor and got the ball to Zach Johnson who drained a clutch three-point basket to extend the Knight’s lead to six at 57-51 at the 3:11 mark. The Gusties would come up with several key stops in the next two minutes and Schmidt would hit a left-handed runner down the lane to cut the lead to two at 59-57 with :26 left, but that is as close as the Gusties would get.
The Knights, who beat Gustavus 80-72 in Northfield on January 2 to start the current 12-game win streak, swept the season series with the Gusties for the first time since the 1992-93 season. Carleton, which has won only six games in St. Peter in the past 21 years, has now won two in a row at Gus Young Court. Gustavus played without starting guard Andrew Olson who suffered a knee injury against St. Thomas on Monday night and will likely miss the next three weeks of the season.
Gustavus placed three players in double figures including Trevor Wittwer with 16, Adam TeBrake with 15, and Phil Sowden with 15. Carleton was led by Zach Johnson with 28 and Dan Forkrud with 20. The Gusties shot 44.9 percent from the field (22-49) and 69.2 percent from the free throw line (9-13), while the Knights shot 42.6 percent from the field (20-47) and 69.0 percent from the free throw line (20-29).
The Gusties will host Saint Mary’s on Saturday at 3:15 pm, while Carleton will head to Moorhead to face Concordia.