The Gustavus Adolphus College men’s basketball team opened its 2003-04 season with a disappointing 59-55 loss to Luther College at Gus Young Court on the Gustavus campus. The game was very close throughout, however Luther made several key shots and free throws down the stretch to escape with the victory. The Norse were led by guard Brandon Grimm with 16 points. Gustavus was led by the duo of Chris TeBrake and Tim Brown who scored 13 points each.
Luther got off to a quick start in the game and led 11-3 midway through the first half. The Gusties were ice cold early in the game as they made only one of their first 11 shots. Defense kept Gustavus in the game until the offense kicked in late in the first half. The Gusties made a late charge and cut the lead to three at 32-29, but Luther scored at the buzzer to take a 34-29 lead into the locker room.
Gustavus scored the first five points of the second half to tie the score at 34-34 with 17:34 remaining. Luther countered with two baskets to take a four-point lead at 38-34 with 16:01 left in the game. The Norse held on to a slim lead until the Gusties used a 5-1 spurt to take a 51-47 lead with 4:57 remaining in regulation play. Luther regained the lead for good at 54-53 on basket by Matt Johnson with 2:40 remaining. Chris TeBrake scored on a layup to bring Gustavus within one at 56-55 with :34 left, but two free throws by Jake Lappe :21 left and another free throw by Justin Pieper with :06 left secured the win for Luther.
The Gusties struggled from the field the entire game and finished just 20-of-57 from the field for a cool 35.1 percent. Gustavus was even colder from three-point range where they made only eight-of-29 attempts for 27.6 percent. Luther converted 22-of-46 field goal attempts (47.8%) and outrebounded Gustavus 37-28.
Gustavus was led in scoring by three players including Chris TeBrake and Tim Brown with 13 each and Doug Espenson with 11 points. Luther was led by Brandon Grimm with 16 and Justin Pieper with 12.