The Gustavus men’s basketball team shot 68.0 percent from the field in the first half (15-22) and 58.3 percent for the game (28-48) on its way to an important 77-70 MIAC road win at Saint John’s on Wednesday night. Balanced scoring was once again a key for Gustavus as four players reached double figures including Trevor Wittwer with 17, Jesse Van Sickle and Sam Paulson with 15, and Kane Sivesind with 13. Van Sickle was 5-of-7 from three-point range.
The Gusties got off to a very hot start making eight of their first 11 shots, however they still trailed 22-21 with 12:05 left in the half. Gustavus continued its torrid shooting making seven of its next 11 shots and went into the locker room with a 12-point lead at 40-28.
The Johnnies got back into the game by outscoring the Gusties 10-3 in the first four minutes of the second half cutting the 12-point Gustavus lead to five at 43-38 at the 16:00 minute mark. Saint John’s continued to put the pressure on the Gusties and reclaimed the lead at 58-57 on a three-point basket by Ryan Liesure with 8:50 remaining in the game. The game was tied at 66-66 with 4:47 when the Gusties went on a mini 4-0 run that gave them a 70-66 lead, a lead they would not relinquish. Saint John’s pulled to within one at 70-69 on a trey by Chris Schwartz, however the Gusties would outscore the Johnnies 7-to-1 in the final 2:34 to claim the 77-70 victory.
The Gusties have now won three straight conference games after dropping their league opener at home to Macalester a week ago. Coach Mark Hanson’s squad, which is now 3-1 in MIAC play, will not play another conference tilt until Monday, January 7 when Saint Mary’s comes to Saint Peter. Gustavus’ will host non-conference opponent Bethany Lutheran College next Wednesday, Dec. 12.