St. Peter, Minn. - The Gustavus men’s basketball team used its best offensive performance of the season to defeat Hamline 105-79 on Wednesday night at Gus Young Court. Four of Gustavus’ five starters reached double-figures, as Seth Anderson paced the Gusties with 36 points after going 14-for-21 from the field and 7-for-7 at the free throw line. Gustavus shot over 50-percent from the field for the fourth-straight game, going 34-of-66 (.515) on the night.
“It’s fun to see the guys enjoying a win like this where we score a lot of points,” said Head Coach Mark Hanson. “The guys see all the little things that go into a game like that and it was a good team win.”
Gustavus has won its last five MIAC matchups, improving to 8-2 in the conference and 11-4 overall. Hamline sees its three-game win-streak snapped, dropping to 6-4 in the MIAC and 8-7 overall.
The Gustavus starting five accounted for 83 of Gustavus’ 105 points. Joining Anderson in the scoring-spree was Ben Biewen, Tyler Grey, and Paul Blacklock. Biewen scored 16 points on 3-for-8 shooting, including an 8-for-8 performance at the free throw line. Grey reached double-figures for the third game in a row, scoring 12 points after shooting 3-of-8 from the field and knocking down two three-pointers. Hamline couldn’t find a way to keep Blacklock off the boards from start to finish, as the senior post brought down 11 rebounds and scored 11 points for Gustavus’ first double-double of the season. Blacklock went 5-for-7 from the field, scoring eight points on tip-ins alone.
“The unfortunate thing about stat sheets is that it doesn’t tell you everything about the game. Paul Blacklock is a classic example of that,” commented Hanson. “He anchored our defense and like Josh said a couple times during the game, ‘he’s putting on a clinic,’ which he was.
Despite being outshot .567-to-.462 from the field in the first half, the Gusties took a 47-45 lead into halftime thanks to a layup and a converted three-point-play by Blacklock as time expired.
The Gusties would start the game hot for the second outing in a row, leading 16-8 at the 14:15 mark following a three by Blake Shay. After Shay’s three-pointer, Gustavus went cold and the Pipers used a 17-to-2 run to take a 25-18 lead with 9:14 left in the half.
Hamline led by as many as eight points (30-22) by the 8:16 mark, as Gustavus scored just six points in a six-minute time-span during the heart of the period. The Pipers would hold on to the advantage until a Seth Anderson jumper at 1:14 put up the Gusties up 44-43 with 1:14 left in the half.
Anderson scored 21 points in the first half after going 9-for-14 from the floor, while Blacklock scored nine points and recorded six offensive rebounds.
The Gusties could not have asked for a better opening seven minutes to the second half, as a Ben Biewen jumper at 18:27 sparked a 19-to-4 run that saw Gustavus on top 66-51 with 13:07 left to play.
Gustavus’ largest lead of the game came at the 4:18 mark when Anderson converted a three-point-play after being fouled on a jumper. The Gusties consistently knocked down shots from both the field and at the line in the second half, going 16-for-27 from the floor and 20-for-21 at the line.
A three-pointer by Ashton Erie brought the score to a final at 105-79. It is Gustavus’ highest scoring performance since Feb. 13, 2002 when the Gusties defeated Hamline 121-59.
“We tried to play at our pace, but we got a open layups and we aren’t going to pass up open layups,” said Blacklock about the up-and-down pace of the game. “Our offense isn’t necessarily a slow it down type, but it is to work to get good shots. Tonight we got good shots early in the shot clock.”
Gustavus brought down a season-high 41 rebounds compared to Hamline’s 24 on the night. The Gusties also attempted a season-high 23 three-pointers, hitting a total of nine for a three-point shooting percentage of .391.
“Since they are a shorter team they like to double down, which leaves our shooters open at the three-point line. Our shooters are pretty good so we’ll get it to them and they’ll knock it down,” said Blacklock.
Hamline shot .483 (28-58) from the field, .500 (9-18) from three-point range, and .824 (14-17) at the line.
Brandon Rieg came off the bench to score 12 points on 4-for-5 shooting to lead the Pipers. Dior Ford scored 10 points (5-8) in the first half yet was blanked in the second after going 0-for-3.
The Gustavus men’s basketball team will look to cap the three-game week with its sixth-straight MIAC victory on Saturday at Bethel. The game is set for 3:00 p.m. and can be heard on both KNUJ AM 860 and through the Gustavus Athletics website.