The Gustavus men’s basketball team extended its current win streak to six games with a 65-58 win over Saint John’s in Collegeville, Minn. Doug Espenson, who scored his 1,000th career point in the game, led the Gusties with 22 points. With the win, Gustavus improves to 10-5 overall and 8-2 in the MIAC, while Saint John’s falls to 5-10 overall and 3-7 in the MIAC.
The Gusties got off to a quick start and looked like they might blow the Johnnies out when they held a 20-6 lead with 7:16 left in the first half. Saint John’s countered with a 13-0 run over the next three minutes and trailed 20-19 at the 3:40 mark. Sophomore guard Chad Ohme sparked the Johnnie comeback with three consecutive three-point baskets. A jumper by Adam TeBrake with :37 on the clock gave the Gusties a three-point lead (25-22), however Ohme banked in a 30-foot trey at the buzzer and the game was tied 25-25 at the intermission.
The game remained tight throughout the early part of the second half with the lead changing hands five different times. A jumper by the Johnnies Nicholas Pariseau gave Saint John’s a one-point lead 34-33 with 14:43 remaining, however that would be the last lead the Johnnies would hold in the contest. With the score tied 38-38 at the 10:32 mark, the Gusties went on a 6-0 run that was punctuated by a Doug Espenson dunk to make the score 44-38. The Johnnies bounced back again and a free throw by Matt Ohme with 4:37 left cut the Gustavus lead to two at 48-46.
Gustavus responded yet again to a Saint John’s rally as sophomore Andrew Olson knocked down two consecutive three-point baskets to push the Gustie lead back to eight at 54-46 with 3:22 remaining. Olson’s treys proved to be the difference as Saint John’s would get no closer than four points at 56-52 with 1:49 on the clock. Gustavus hit 8-of-10 free throws in the final minute of the game which allowed them to claim the 65-58 victory.
Doug Espenson became the 28th player in Gustavus men’s basketball history to reach the 1,000 point plateau in the second half. Espenson scored his 1000 and 1001st point on a layup with 4:35 to play that gave Gustavus a 48-45 lead. He led Gustavus in scoring with 22 points. Adam TeBrake was the only other Gustie in double figures with 19 points.
Gustavus will host Hamline at 3:00 pm on Saturday afternoon.