The Gustavus men’s basketball team saw its season come to an end with a 55-48 loss to Carleton in a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference semifinal game in Northfield, Minn. on Thursday night. The Gusties, who trailed by 19 points in the second half, cut the lead to three points with :48 left to play, but the Knights made several key free throws in the final moments to hold on for the win. Phil Sowden led Gustavus with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
The Gusties used a layup by Phil Sowden to take a 6-5 lead four minutes into the contest, however Carleton countered with a basket by Jay Melson to give the Knights a 7-6 lead and Gustavus would not lead the rest of the game. Carleton used a 13-0 run to take an 18-6 lead midway through the first half. The Gusties countered with a 5-0 run to cut the lead to seven at 18-11, but that is the close as Gustavus would get the rest of the half. The Knights took a 15-point, 35-20 lead into the locker room. Dan Forkrud sparked the Knights with 18 first half points, while the Gusties shot a cool 34.8 percent from the field (8-25).
Carleton continued to build its lead early in the second half and held its biggest lead of the game at 19 points (46-27) with 14:21 left in the game. Gustavus struck right back with an 11-2 run to cut the lead to 10 at 48-38 with 9:25 left on the clock. The Knights held on to their double-digit lead for the next three minutes, however a 9-0 run by the Gusties trimmed the lead to four at 51-47 at the 5:20 mark. Neither team could manage to score for the next five minutes. Gustavus’ Adam TeBrake broke the drought by making one-of-two free throws to cut the lead to three at 51-48 with :48 left to play. The Gusties would not score the rest of the game, while the Knights managed to convert four consecutive free throws to hold on for the 55-48 win.
Gustavus was able to make only 38.0 percent of its shots from the field (19-50), which was its second poorest shooting effort of the season. The Gusties had made 52.7 percent of their shots in the previous 26 games. Phil Sowden, who made 8-of-15 from the field, finished with 17 points. A three-year starter, Sowden completes his junior season with 922 career points. Senior Adam TeBrake tallied 11 points in the game and finished his career in 28th place on the Gustavus all-time scoring list with 1,038 points. The only other player in double figures against the Knights was Trevor Wittwer with 11.
The Knights kept the Gusties from attempting to claim their fourth consecutive MIAC Playoff Championship and halted the team’s string of five consecutive NCAA Tournament berths. Gustavus finished its season with a record of 19-8.