The Gustavus Adolphus men’s basketball team outscored St. Thomas 16-10 in overtime and locked up its seventh straight MIAC Playoff bid with an 80-74 win over the third-ranked Tommies Wednesday night in St. Peter. St. Thomas’ Bryan Schnettler hit seven three-pointers and finished with a game-high 32 points. Trevor Wittwer (Jr., Redwood Falls, Minn./Redwood Valley) led Gustavus with 23 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field and 7-of-9 from the free throw line.
The Gusties scored the first seven points of the game and led 14-7 with 11:45 to play, but the Tommies responded with a 25-8 run to take a ten-point lead at 32-22 with 3:49 left in the half. Gustavus cut the lead to six points at 34-28 on a pair of free throws by Phil Sowden (Sr., Brooklyn Park, Minn./Park Center) just inside of two minutes to play. St. Thomas forward Tommy Shimek knocked down a three to extend the lead back to nine points, but Gustavus scored the final five points of the half to cut the St. Thomas advantage to 37-33 heading into the locker room.
The Gusties opened the second half on a 9-2 run to retake the lead at 42-39 with 15:46 to play, but the Tommies kept it close, drawing even on a layup and a free throw by Mike Keating and taking the lead back momentarily at 44-43 on a layup by Isaac Rosefelt. Gustavus scored the next eight points to take a 51-44 lead, but saw their lead evaporate as Rosefelt hit back-to-back layups and Schnettler drained a three-pointer and a pair of free throws to tie the score at 53-53 with 5:42 to play.
The teams traded layups until Kane Sivesind (Jr., Madison, Wis./Memorial) emerged with the offensive rebound following a missed three by Sowden and knocked down a big three-pointer of his own to give the Gusties a 60-57 lead with 3:07 to play. Schnettler responded with a three of his own, knotting the score at 60-60 with 2:53 remaining in the half. A jumper by Sowden and a pair of free throws by Jesse Van Sickle (Fr., Garden City, Minn./Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial) gave Gustavus a 64-60 lead, but Rosefelt sank a pair of free throws to draw the Tommies within two and Schnettler tied the game at 64-64 on a jumper with 24 seconds to play. Andrew Olson had a chance to lock down the win at the end of regulation but his baseline jumper drew iron and fell away, sending the game to overtime.
Gustavus jumped out to a five-point lead early in the overtime session, led by a three-pointer from Mike DesLauriers (So., Minnetonka, Minn./Benilde-St. Margaret) and a pair of layups by Wittwer. St. Thomas responded, cutting the Gustavus lead to a single point at 71-70 with 2:04 to play as Rosefelt scored on a layup and Schnettler added a free throw and another three-pointer. The Tommies struggled from the field in the final two minutes of overtime, hitting only two of eight shots, while Gustavus hit nine of 12 free throws in the extra session to ice the game.
The Gusties outshot the Tommies 55.6% to 46.0% from the field and were an amazing 24-of-31 from the free throw line. St. Thomas was limited to 11 attempts from the charity stripe, hitting eight. In addition to his team-high 23 points, Wittwer also added seven rebounds, three assists, and a blocked shot. Sivesind added 10 points off the bench, while DesLauriers added nine points.
Schnettler finished 11-of-20 from the field, including 7-of-12 from three-point range. Rosefelt added 16 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, while Keating made it three Toms in double-figures with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Phil Sowden recorded his second double-double in three games with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Sowden moved past Kirk Walberg (1190 points; 1999-2002) into 18th place on the Gustavus career scoring chart with 1195 points. He also finished with a game-high four assists.
Schnettler, who came in with 275 career 3-pointers, made seven treys and now has 282 in 77 games at St. Thomas. He broke the conference all-game mark of 277 held by Macalester’s Patrick Russell.
Gustavus improves to 13-9 overall and is tied for third in the MIAC with Bethel at 11-6. The Royals topped Concordia 86-71 in Moorhead Wednesday night. St. Thomas falls to 20-3 overall, 16-2 in the MIAC, and leads Saint John’s by one-half game pending the Johnnies result Wednesday evening against Augsburg.