The Gustavus men’s basketball team rallied from a 10-point deficit to sneak past St. Olaf 70-67 in Northfield on Wednesday night. Doug Espenson led the Gusties in scoring with 18 points. Gustavus improves to 7-5 overall and 5-2 in the MIAC, while St. Olaf falls to 6-7 overall and 2-6 in the MIAC.
The Gusties got off to a very slow start and did not score in the first four minutes of the game. The Oles on the other hand got off to a quick start and led 11-2 at the 14:10 mark of the first half. The Oles biggest lead was 10 at 17-7 with 11:28 to play in the half, however the Gusties an 11-0 run over the next seven minutes to a take an 18-17 lead with 4:46 to play. The game stayed very close the rest of the half. St. Olaf got a basket from Tucker Weisman with :21 left to take a 27-25 lead into the lockerroom.
The game remained tight for the first five minutes of the second half with both teams holding slim leads. The Gusties used a 5-0 run to push its lead to seven points at 47-40 with 14:05 left to play. Gustavus held a five-to-seven point lead for the next eight minutes and then claimed its biggest lead of the game at nine (58-49) on two free-throws by Phil Sowden at the 6:37 mark. St. Olaf clawed its way back in to the game and cut the lead to three at 65-62 on a jumper by Pat Fraser with 1:22 left in the game. Adam TeBrake hit three-of-four free throws in the final :13 to allow the Gusties to hold on for the 70-67 win.
Gustavus placed four players in double figures including Espenson with 18, Adam TeBrake with 15, Phil Sowden with 12 and Trent Hollerich with 10. Gustavus shot 50.0 percent from the field (23-46) and 84.6 percent from the free throw line (22-26).
The Gusties will return home to face Augsburg at 3:00 pm on Saturday.