The Gustavus men’s basketball team suffered its first loss in the MIAC as Jon Cassens hit a layup with :03.5 remaining to give Augsburg a 52-50 win over the Gusties on Wednesday at Gus Young Court. Gustavus had a ten-minute scoring drought in the first half as it went into halftime trailing 23-18 after shooting 7-of-29 (24.1 percent) from the floor. The Gusties dropped to 3-3 overall and 2-1 in league play, while the Auggies improved to 4-3 overall and 2-1 in the conference standings.
Gustavus held a 7-4 lead with 15:10 on the clock after a free throw from Sam Paulson. However, that would be the last point for the Gusties as they missed 16 straight shots until the 5:48 mark when Ky Battern put in a layup on the right block with Augsburg holding just an eight-point lead at 17-9. The basket triggered a 11-2 run, which featured a three-pointer by Tyler Grey after a scramble at mid-court, to pull Gustavus to within 19-18. The Auggies would score the last four points of the half as Augsburg went into the locker room leading 23-18.
The Gusties began to chip away at the Auggie lead during the early stages of the second half, but did not regain the lead until Andrew Hartman hit a pair of free throws to give Gustavus a 44-42 lead with 5:23 left in the contest. It was a battle the rest of the way as neither team lead by more than two points. There was a key series of plays down the stretch for Augsburg as it grabbed three consecutive offensive rebounds that culminated in a basket by Brett Sorenson to put the Auggies up 50-48.
The Gusties answered with offensive boards of their own before Jesse Van Sickle was fouled driving to the hoop. Van Sickle drilled both free throws to even the score at 50-50 with :31 remaining. After a timeout, Augsburg put the ball in the hands of Jon Cassens, who watched the clock wind down. With :07 left, he drove the lane and kissed a shot off the backboard for the go-ahead shot. Jesse Van Sickle threw up a last second three-pointer that barely missed as it hit the front of the rim to give the Auggies a 52-50 victory.
For the second game in a row, Sam Paulson led the Gusties with 10 points to along with seven boards. Mike DesLauriers and Andrew Hartman also contributed nine points each. Gustavus finished the game 18-of-54 shooting for 33.3 percent, while Augsburg went 21-of-49 from the field at 42.9 percent. The Auggies were paced by Nate Alm’s 18 points.
Gustavus returns to action on Sunday, December 28 against Puget Sound at 5 p.m. in San Francisco, Calif.