Freshman Jesse Van Sickle (Garden City, Minn.) scored a game-high 18 points to lead the Gustavus men’s basketball team to a 73-50 victory over Hamline Saturday in St. Peter. The win keeps the Gusties in the MIAC race leaving them in sole possession of third place as the midway point of the conference season approaches.
The two teams battled back and forth in the early minutes of the game. After leading by as many as five points early in the game, the Gusties saw their lead cut to a single point at 12-11 with 14:25 remaining in the first half on a layup by Hamline’s Jon DeRock. Led by eight points from Van Sickle and six from Kane Sivesind (Madison, Wis.), the Gusties closed the half on a 28-12 run to head into the locker room with a 40-23 lead.
Gustavus shot 48% from the floor in the first half in addition to its 9-of-10 effort from the charity stripe. They also fared better from behind the arc during the half, hitting 5 of 15 attempts to outpace Hamline’s own 1 of 6.
Hamline matched Gustavus virtually basket-for-basket through much of the second half. The Pipers were able to cut the lead to 16 points at 56-40 on a three pointer by Zev Kujolic with 6:46 to play but could get no closer. Van Sickle converted a layup on Gustavus’ next trip down the court after which the Gusties made seven straight free throws to lead 65-40 with 3:46 remaining. After another three by Kujolic, Tyler Kaus (St. James, Minn.) drained a pair of free throws before Justin DeGrood (Fairbault, Minn.) stretched the lead to a game-high 26 points at 69-43 with 2:37 to play. Hamline scored seven of the game’s final 11 points but Gustavus freshman Sam Paulson (Waseca, Minn.) scored the game’s final points on a jump hook with two seconds left to play to give the Gusties a 73-50 victory.
Gustavus out shot Hamline 47.1% (24-51) to 37.3% (19-51), including 38.9% (7-18) to 29.4% (5-17) from three-point range. The Gusties also held an advantage at the free throw line, where they hit 18 of 20 attempts. The Pipers hit 7 of their 14 attempts.
Van Sickle finished with a game-high 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting. The freshman from Garden City, Minnesota was also 4-of-5 from behind the three-point line. Andrew Olson (Owatonna, Minn.) added 17, while Phil Sowden (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) scored nine points and collected a game-high seven rebounds. Tony Thrasher was the only Piper in double figures, leading the team with 12.
Gustavus (7-6 overall, 5-3 MIAC) plays St. Olaf at 5:45pm Monday in Northfield, while Hamline (3-9 overall, 2-6 MIAC) hosts St. John’s at 7:30pm the same evening.