The Gustavus men’s basketball team lost a heartbreaker to Carthage College 57-56 on Sunday afternoon. Kevin Menard hit a jumper with :15 left to give the Redmen the one-point victory in St. Peter. Gustavus did have the opportunity to win the contest, however a three-point shot by Trent Hollerich with :01 bounced off the rim allowing Carthage to escape with the victory. The Gusties’ Doug Espenson led all scorers with 19 points. Menard led the Redmen in scoring with 15 points.
The game got off to a fast start as both teams made six of their first nine shots. Carthage held a 14-13 advantage after Kevin Menard made a layup with 13:54 remaining in the first half. The game remained close until Gustavus went on a 10-3 run during a six-minute stretch late in the half giving the Gusties a 30-23 lead with 3:48 left in the half. The Redmen rallied to cut the lead to two at 34-32 on a trio of three-point baskets by Mark Morrison, but a Doug Espenson lay-up late in the half gave the Gusties a 36-32 lead at the intermission.
Carthage outscored Gustavus 7-2 to start the second half and took a 39-38 lead at the 16:58 mark. The Gusties countered with a 7-0 run to take a six-point lead at 45-39 with 13:43 remaining in the game. Gustavus maintained a slim lead over the next seven minutes of the contest, however a free-throw by Carthage’s Pat Kalamatas gave the Redmen a 50-49 lead at the 6:31 mark. Carthage would then hold a slim edge over the next four minutes until a three-point basket by Andrew Olson gave Gustavus a 56-55 lead with 2:41 left in the game. Neither team could manage any points until Menard hit the game-winning shot for Carthage with :15 seconds left to play.
Gustavus shot a cool 43.6 percent from the field (24-55), while Carthage was just slightly better at 45.2 percent (19-42). The Redmen held a significant advantage at the free throw line making 14-of-20, while the Gusties made 5-of-6 from the charity stripe. Carthage outrebounded the Gusties 32-25.
Carthage placed four players in double figures including Menard with 15, Mark Morrisson with 14, Brian Schlemm with 13 and Pat Kalamatas with 10. The Gusties had three players reach double digits including Espenson with 19, Phil Sowden with 12, and Adam TeBrake with 11.
Carthage improves to 2-0 with the win, while the Gusties fall to 1-2 on the season. The Gusties suffered back-to-back home losses (Buena Vista 54-45 and Carthage 57-56) for the first time in over 13 years.
Gustavus will open Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play at Hamline on Wednesday, December 1. Game time is 7:30 pm.