The St. Thomas defensive pressure proved to be too much for the Gustavus men’s basketball team as the Gusties saw their season coming to an end after a disappointing 90-50 loss in the MIAC semifinals on Wednesday in St. Paul. Gustavus was unable to generate an offensive rhythm as it committed 21 turnovers resulting in 34 Tommie points. Robert Schmidt was the only Gustie to reach double-figures with 13 points as four other players chipped in six points each.
With the score tied 11-11 in the first half, Anders Halvorsen scored the next seven St. Thomas points to trigger a 26-4 run that put the Tommies ahead 37-15 with 3:22 left in the frame. Tim Olmstead hit a 65-foot buzzer-beater before the end of the half to pull Gustavis to within 17 points as the Gusties went into the locker room trailing 43-26.
The Tommies tallied the first seven points of the second half to extend their lead as they went ahead by 24 points at 50-26. The Gusties stopped the run after a pair of Sam Paulson free throws, but St. Thomas went on another 15-3 run to see its lead grow to over 30 points midway through the second half as the Tommies cruised to the victory.
Robert Schmidt went 5-for-7 from the field and was perfect from behind the three-point arc going 3-for-3 as he scored 13 points. Ryan McPartland, Sam Paulson, Bobby Johnson, and Tim Olmstead scored six points each in the losing effort. Gustavus shot 34.7 percent from the floor on 17-for-49 shooting, while going 11-for-18 from the charity stripe (61.1 percent). Joe Scott paced the balanced St. Thomas attack with 13 points as the Tommie bench outscored the Gustie reserves 54-25. St. Thomas shot 55.8 percent on 29-for-52 shooting and converted 26-of-31 free throws (83.9 percent).
Gustavus finished the season at 13-14, while St. Thomas improved to 26-0. The Tommies will now face Bethel in the MIAC Championship game on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in St. Paul. The winner will earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.