The Gustavus men’s basketball team improved to 11-3 overall and 7-2 in the MIAC with a convincing 66-52 win over St. Olaf at Gus Young Court in St. Peter, Minn. on Saturday afternoon. The Gusties shot 51.1 percent from the field (24-47), 50.0 percent from three-point range (7-14), and 78.6 percent from the free throw line (11-14) in winning for the 10 time in their last 11 games. Sophomore center Sam Paulson scored a career high 16 points to lead the Gusties. Gustavus head coach Mark Hanson recorded the 350th win of his career and improved his all-time mark to 350-134 in 18 seasons.
The Gusties got off to a strong start and led 12-4 after five minutes of play. St. Olaf coach Dan Kosmoski called a timeout and the Oles countered with an 11-4 run that cut the lead to one at 16-15 at the 10:28 mark. Gustavus responded with another run this one an 18-4 advantage over the next eight minutes that gave the Gusties a 34-19 lead with just under two minutes remaining in the half. The Oles would get no closer than 11 points the rest of the game. Gustavus led by 13 points at halftime, 36-23. The Gusties shot a sizzling 53.8 percent from the field (14-26) in the first 20 minutes of play.
Gustavus continued to build on its lead in the second half and led by as many as 22 points at 54-32 at the 9:41 mark. The Oles battled back and cut the lead to 11 at 63-52 with 1:15 left in the game, but that is as close as they would get in falling to 6-9 overall and 4-6 in the MIAC.
The Gusties, who lead the MIAC in team field goal percentage at 49.9 percent, shot 51.1 percent from the field in the game (24-47). Three Gustavus players reached double figures in scoring including Sam Paulson with 16, Jesse Van Sickle with 15, and Kane Sivesind with 12. Van Sickle was very accurate from the field in the game as he made 6-of-7 shots including 3-of-3 from behind the arc.
St. Olaf shot a chilly 38.9 percent from the field (21-54) and a cool 55.6 percent from the free throw line (5-of-9). Bobby Hunter led the Oles with 18 points.
With the win over the Oles, the Gusties moved into a first place tie with St. Thomas with a record of 7-2. Gustavus will travel to Northfield on Monday night to face Carleton in the final game of the first round of MIAC play.