The Gustavus men’s basketball team shot a red hot 63.8 percent from the field and posted a convincing 73-48 win over Bethel in a MIAC quarterfinal matchup on Tuesday night in St. Peter, Minn. The Gusties will play #2 seed Carleton in Northfield on Thursday night in the semifinals of the MIAC Tournament due to the fact that #6 seed Hamline upset #3 seed Saint John’s 74-71 in Collegeville. The Pipers, being the lowest seed left in the tournament, head to #1 seed St. Thomas on Thursday night. The winners on Thursday will play for the championship on Saturday at the site of the highest remaining seed.
Against Bethel, the Gusties got off to a slow start and trailed 7-0 five minutes into the game. Junior post Phil Sowden was left open on the arc and he made a three-point basket to break the scoring drought. Gustavus would outscore the Royals 16-4 over the next five minutes and held a 19-11 lead with 9:14 left in the half. Tyson Bjorklund hit a trey at the 6:10 mark to cut the Gustavus lead to four points at 24-20, but that is as close as Bethel would get the rest of the game. The Gusties closed out the half on a 13-4 run and held a 13-point, 37-24 lead at the intermission. Gustavus, which shot 60.9 percent from the field in the first half (14-23), including six-of-nine from three-point range, were led by Adam TeBrake with 12 points. Bethel shot a cool 32.0 percent from the field (8-25). The Gusties also held a 17-10 edge in rebounding.
In the second half, the Gusties increased their lead to 16 points at 40-24, but Bethel used a 5-0 run to cut the lead to 11 40-29 with 15:18 on the clock. However, Gustavus broke the game open with an 11-0 run that increased the lead to 23 points at 52-29 with 10:24 left in the game. The Royals did not get closer than 23 points the rest of the contest. Bethel could only manage to make 20.0 percent of its shots in the second half (7-35), while the Gusties connected on a blazing 66.7 percent of its shots (16-24).
Phil Sowden led the Gustavus attack with 17 points and six assists, while Adam TeBrake contributed 15 points and Andrew Doble added 13. Doble, who is averaging 6.9 points per game this season, has averaged 15.3 points per game over the last four games. Junior post Jay Stien also had a big game as he scored eight points and grabbed a career high 14 rebounds. The Gusties outrebounded the Royals 42-24. Bethel was led by Matt Fredrickson with 14 and Charles Meadowcraft with 10.
This was the sixth consecutive season that Gustavus has faced Bethel in the MIAC Tournament. The Gusties have posted a record of 5-1 in those six meetings. All of the games have been played at Gustavus.
Coach Mark Hanson’s squad will now face Carleton in Northfield on Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 pm. The Gusties lost twice to the Knights this season including an 80-72 loss in Northfield on Jan. 2, and a 65-59 loss in St. Peter on Feb. 1. This will be the fourth meeting between the Gusties and Knights in the MIAC Playoffs. Gustavus has won all three previous meetings (1991, 1992, 1997). This will be the first playoff game between the two squads in Northfield. The winner of the Gustavus-Carleton game will play the winner of the St. Thomas-Hamline game on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 pm at the site of the highest remaining seed.