Clutch free-throw shooting from Jesse Van Sickle and Mike DesLauriers late in the second half helped the Gustavus men’s basketball team upset eighth-ranked Buena Vista University 62-58 on Tuesday night in St. Peter. The Gusties, who led 40-27 at halftime, saw their lead cut to two points with :10 remaining before DesLauriers sank a pair of free throws to clinch the win in Gustavus’ home opener. Van Sickle scored a career-high 22 points to lead the Gusties, while Ryan McPartland recorded his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
In a tightly contested first half, Gustavus seized momentum of the game when Jesse Van Sickle and Robert Schmidt hit consecutive treys to take a 26-20 lead with 5:36 on the clock. Ryan McPartland scored six points during the ensuing 14-7 run as the Gusties built a 40-27 advantage over the Beavers at halftime. Head Coach Mark Hanson’s squad shot 51.7 percent from the field on 15-of-29 shooting and outrebounded Buena Vista 23-14 in the period.
The Beavers quickly cut the lead to four points at 40-36 three minutes into the second half as Buena Vista made its first four shots and Gustavus went ice cold missing its first six. Ky Battern ended the Gustie scoring drought when he made a pair of free throws with 14:32 left in the contest bringing the score to 42-36. Andre Wagner converted two free throws on the next Beaver possession before being subbed out of the game. With Wagner out of the game, Gustavus put together a 7-0 scoring run that was punctuated by another Van Sickle three-point shot to regain its double-digit lead at 49-38 midway through the half.
The Gusties maintained the 11-point margin until late in the half when Buena Vista mounted another rally. The Beavers cut the lead to 55-49 after a three-point basket by Wagner and a layup by Matt Cleveland with 2:53 left in the contest. As the game moved down the stretch, Buena Vista began to foul to stop the clock. Jesse Van Sickle made two sets of free throws to give Gustavus a 59-51 lead with 1:25 on the clock. After cutting the margin to five points, Wagner drilled a fadeaway 30-foot three-point basket to make it a two-point game with :10 remaining. The Gusties were able to erase some time off the clock before Mike DesLauriers was fouled, and made both free throws to seal the victory 62-58.
Buena Vista’s Andre Wagner led all scorers with 26 points on 10-of-20 shooting from the floor. Matt Cleveland was the only other Beaver player to reach double-digits at 15 points. In addition to Jesse Van Sickle’s 22 points and seven rebounds, Ryan McPartland contributed 12 points and 10 boards. Gustavus shot 40.4 percent from the floor, including 51.7 percent in the first half, on 21-of-52 shooting compared to 32.4 percent shooting for Buena Vista.
The Gusties face defending Division II champion, Winona State University, on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Winona. The contest will be broadcast on KRDS 95.5 FM and will be available through the Gustavus Athletics website