The Gustavus men’s basketball team used a 10-0 run early in the second half to build a 14-point lead and then closed the door with a 19-3 run over the final five minutes on its way to a 87-58 win over Hamline on Wednesday night in St. Peter. The victory assured the Gusties of a second place league finish with one game remaining in the regular season. Coach Mark Hanson’s squad is now 18-6 overall and 14-5 in the conference play.
Gustavus jumped out to an 18-9 lead after the first nine minutes of play and extended its lead to as many as 12 points at 38-26 with 1:31 remaining in the first half. The Pipers countered with a 5-0 run to cut the lead to seven at 38-31 with :37 seconds on the clock, however Robby Schmidt knocked down a jumper as time expired to give Gustavus a nine-point, 40-31 lead at the intermission. The Gusties shot 54.8 percent from the field (17-31) in the first half.
The Pipers kept the game close early in the second half and cut the lead to four points at 46-42 at the 14:40 mark. The Gusties quickly countered with an 11-1 that pushed their lead to 14 points at 57-43 with 10:30 remaining and the Pipers would get no closer than 12 points the rest of the game. Leading 68-55 with 5:03 left to play, the Gusties outscored Hamline 19-3 in the final five minutes to claim the convincing 29-point (87-58) victory.
Gustavus did not ever trail in the game, although the Pipers did tie the score twice very early in the game. All 17 players on the Gustavus roster took part in the contest. Four players scored in double figures including Trevor Wittwer with 15, Jesse Van Sickle and Robbie Schmidt with 13 each, and Andrew Doble with 10.
Hamline was led by Tanner Anderson with 16 points and Tony Thrasher with 13. The Pipers shot 37.3 percent from the field (19-51), but 50 percent from behind the arc (7-14).
The Gusties have clinched the #2 seed in the MIAC Post-Season Tournament and will get a bye in the first round of the playoffs which begin on Tuesday, Feb. 26. Gustavus will host an opponent yet to be determined on Thursday, Feb. 28 at 7:30 pm. This is the eighth consecutive year and 13th time in the past 14 years that the Gusties have qualified for the MIAC Post-Season Tournament.
Gustavus will close out the regular season at home against Carleton on Saturday at 3:00 pm.