The Gustavus men’s basketball team remained in a third place tie in the MIAC with an important 85-75 win at Bethel on Monday night. Adam TeBrake and Phil Sowden led the Gusties with 25 and 23 points, respectively. Gustavus jumped out to a 7-0 lead and never looked back on its way to the 10-point win. The Gusties, who did not ever trail in the contest, led by as many as 24 points in the second half.
Gustavus, which lost to Bethel 63-78 in St. Peter on January 7, was determined to split the season series with the Royals and maintain its third place position in the MIAC standings with Saint John’s. After the Gusties jumped out to a 7-0, the Royals rallied to cut the lead to two at 8-6. However, that is as close as the Royals would get the entire game, as Gustavus scored six straight points to extend the lead to eight at 14-6. A jumper by Phil Sowden at the 11:25 mark increased the Gustie lead to 10 at 22-12. Coach Mark Hanson’s squad would maintain a double-digit lead for the rest of the half. A three-point basket by Adam TeBrake with :52 left gave Gustavus a 16-point lead at the intermission (41-25). The Gusties, who made 16-of-29 shots in the first half, were led by Phil Sowden (5-of-7) with 14 points.
The Gusties would start fast again in the second half outscoring the Royals 11-6 in the first three minutes of play to extend their lead to 21 points at 52-31. Gustavus would maintain a 15-20 point lead through the majority of the second half and the Gusties led by 20 at 70-50 when TeBrake drained a jumper at the 6:36 mark. The Royals made a late charge outscoring the Gusties 16-5 for the next four minutes cutting the lead to nine at 75-66 with 2:20 left to play. Gustavus closed out the game at the free throw line making 10-of-12 in the final two minutes to allow the team to claim the 10-point win (85-75).
Gustavus placed three players in double figures including TeBrake with 25, Sowden with 23, and Wittwer with 14. The Gusties shot 56.5 percent from the field ((30-54) and 79.2 percent from the free throw line (19-24). Gustavus also held a significant advantage in rebounding as th team finished with 36 caroms compared to 22 for the Royals. Phil Sowden led the Gusties with seven rebounds, while Jay Stien finished with six. Senior Trent Hollerich finished with a career high eight assists.
The Gusties will continue their late season road stretch with a game against St. Olaf in Northfield on Saturday afternoon at 3:15 pm. The game will be broadcast locally on KRBI AM 1310 and globally on the internet through the Gustavus athletics website.