The Gustavus men’s basketball team suffered a disappointing 66-55 loss to UW-Stevens Point in front of a raucous crowd of over 3,200 on the Gustavus campus. The Gusties, who started their Cinderella run through the NCAA Tournament with an upset win over the Pointers in the second round last year, saw the tables turned this year. The game was played at a very intense level and was very close until the final minutes of the game when Gustavus was forced to foul to try to stay in the game. The Pointers improve to 26-4 on the season, while the Gusties wrap up their season at 22-6.
The first half was a defensive struggle with both teams finding it difficult to get off good shots. Both teams held five point leads at different times in the half, however the Gusties entered the lockerroom with a three-point 25-22 lead.
The second began with Gustavus extending its lead to five at 33-28 at the 16:24 mark on a basket by Doug Espenson. UW-Stevens Point outscored Gustavus 18 to 7 over the next seven minutes to take a 46-40 lead with 9:24 remaining in the game. The Gusties countered with two important three’s to tie the score at 46-46 at the 8:17 mark. The Pointers would take a 48-46 lead on a lay-up by Nick Bennett the next time down the floor and Gustavus would come right back and take a 49-48 lead on a trey by Chris TeBrake with 7:19 left to play. That would be the last lead that the Gusties would hold in the game. The Pointers would outscore Gustavus 18-6 in the final seven minutes of the contest. The Gusties got to within five at 59-54 on a jumper by Tim Brown with 1:05 left. UW-Stevens Point made five-of-six free throws down the stretch to claim the 66-55 win and advance to Sectional play next weekend. The exact location will be announced tomorrow evening.
The Gusties, who came into the game shooting 50.7 percent from the field, shot a disappointing 38.2 percent from the field (21-55). The Pointers on the other hand shot very well as they knocked down 55.8 percent of their shots from the field (24-43) and 60.0 percent of their shots from behind the arc (6-10).
Gustavus was led by Eric Nelson with 12 points and Phil Sowden with 11. UW-Stevens Point was led by Jason Kalsow with 19 points. Others in double figures for the Pointers were Nick Bennett with 17 and Kyle Grusczynski with 10.
Two Gustavus seniors playing in their final game at Gus Young Court reached career milestones as Chris TeBrake became only the fifth player at Gustavus to record 300 assists (he finished with 306) and Eric Nelson became the only player to make 200 three-point baskets (he finished with 201). Other seniors wrapping up their careers for Gustavus included Tim Brown, Brett Boese, Seth Midura, and Adam Thorson.