“I’ve never thought that my team was out of any game that I’ve been a part of,” said a still shaking Seth Anderson following Gustavus’ 98-96 win over Buena Vista in the season-opener on Tuesday night in Storm Lake, Iowa. “I’m just so proud of the way this team kept its focus and battled to the end. You want everything to go your way as a senior, and tonight it did.”
Unless he was prompted, it would be hard to gather any information from Anderson on the how “he” played in the game. It would be hard to tell if he scored 45 points, or whether or not he hit the game-winning shot with two seconds on the clock. Whether he forced key turnover late, or broke two major school records in the process. Although the W in the win column is the only thing that matters to him, it just so happened that Seth Anderson did all those things and more on Tuesday night, etching his name in the Gustavus record book with the performance.
With Buena Vista up 95-90 with :20 seconds to play in the game, four key Gustavus plays were the difference. 1. Ben Biewen knocked down a three-pointer to cut the Beaver lead to 95-93 with :14 seconds remaining. 2. Following a 1-for-2 trip to the free-throw line by Michael Kaufmann, Blake Shay took a pass from Anderson from 22-feet out and, without hesitation, fired up a triple that hit the bottom of the net to tie the game at 96-96. 3. On Buena Vista’s ensuing possession, Anderson forced point guard Kaufmann to the sideline where he picked his dribble near mid court. With the possession arrow pointing in Gustavus’ direction, Anderson tied Kaufmann up and forced a turnover on a jump ball. 4. With :02 seconds on the game clock and Ben Biewen set to inbound the ball in front of the Gustavus bench, there was no question where it was going. Anderson broke away from his man on a UCLA cut at the left wing, squaring up to an open window at the basket and sinking the game-winning jumper as time expired.
The above series of events occurred despite the fact that Gustavus did not play particularly well at the end of the first half (trailing 46-39 at halftime), or in the opening portion of the second half. Buena Vista led by as many as 21 points (71-50) with 11:12 left to play in the game.
Slowly but surely, Gustavus began chipping away at the lead. The Gusties trailed by 11 points (86-75) with 3:04 to play – hence the word slowly. In the final 3:04 of the game, a combined 33 points were scored between the two squads, Gustavus with 23 points and Buena Vista with 10. From the 11:12 mark to when the final buzzer sounded, Gustavus outscored the Beavers 48-to-25.
Seth Anderson finished the game with 45 points on 18-of-28 shooting (64.2%). His 45-point mark is a new Gustavus record, breaking D.L. Smith’s 41-point mark set on Jan. 15, 1957. Smith made 10 field goals and sunk 21 free throws against UM-Duluth in the record-setting game. Anderson also tied the school record for made field goals in a game with 18 set by Dan Carlson against St. Olaf on Feb. 25, 1976. Anderson scored 29 points in the second half, going 11-for-18 from the field and 6-for-8 at the line.
The Gusties shot 54.4-percent from the field in the game, while Buena Vista shot 59.2-percent. Buena Vista was on fire from behind the arc, going 7-for-11 in the second half and shooting 61.1-percent in the game. Gustavus won two key statistical categories when it was all said and done – turnovers and free throws. The Gusties recorded nine turnovers to Buena Vista’s 17, and shot 78.3-percent at the charity stripe compared to the Beavers who shot 65.9-percent.
Also finishing in double-figures for Gustavus was Ben Biewen with 16 points on 4-of-10 shooting, and Reed Sallstrom with 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Ten Gustavus players saw over 10 minutes of action tonight in the opener.
Leading the Beavers was Michael Kaufmann with 22 points. Kaufmann was 7-for-8 from the field and 5-for-6 from three-point range. Doug Bissen (15), Wes Nordquist (12), and Jeff Janssen (11) also finished with double-digit point totals.
The Gustavus men’s basketball team will try to keep an even keel as it travels to UW-La Crosse on Saturday, Nov. 19 for a game set to tip off at 7:00 p.m. in La Crosse, Wis.