The Gustavus men’s basketball team built a double-digit second half lead against Augsburg and then held off a late Auggie rally to claim a 78-71 conference victory. Senior Andrew Doble came off the bench to lead the Gusties with 21 points. It was Doble’s clutch jumper with :45 seconds left that gave Gustavus a 73-70 lead and stopped a 10-0 Auggie run that had cut an 11-point 71-60 Gustie lead to one point at 71-70. The Gustavus bench played a big part in the victory outscoring the Augsburg bench 41-7 in the game.
The early part of the game was tight with neither team holding a lead bigger than three points, however midway through the first half, Augsburg went on a 16-7 run that allowed them to take an 11-point, 27-16 lead at the 9:10 mark. A foul and two technicals on Augsburg players at the 7:37 mark put Gustavus senior wing Kane Sivesind at the line and he converted six consecutive free throws to cut the double-digit Augsburg lead to four at 31-27. Doble scored five consecutive points in the final minute of the first half to give the Gusties a 42-40 lead at the intermission.
Gustavus outscored Augsburg 9-2 in the first three minutes of the second half to extend its lead to nine at 51-42. The Gusties would maintain a double-digit lead for the majority of the second half until the Auggies used the 10-0 run mentioned above to cut the lead to one at 71-70 with 1:15 left in regulation play. Dobles jumper with :45 seconds left extended Gustauvus’ lead to three at 73-70, but then Femi Solaja made one of two free throws to cut the lead to two at 73-71 with :27 left to play. The Gusties scored the final five points of the game to claim the 78-71 victory.
Four Gustavus players reached double-figures in scoring including Doble with 21, Ryan McPartland with 15, Jesse Van Sickle with 13, and Sam Paulson with 12. Augsburg was led by Solaja with 19 points and 14 rebounds.
Gustavus will host Bethel College on Monday night. The Royals, who are currently 3-2 overall and 0-1 in the MIAC, were picked to finish first in the MIAC in the pre-season coaches poll.