Sophomore point guard Dan Schmidtknecht hit a pair of layups down the stretch to help the Gustavus men’s basketball team defeat Saint John’s 68-62 on Monday night at Gus Young Court. The Gusties overcame a five-point halftime deficit by shooting 50.0 percent in the second half and holding the Johnnies to 33.3 percent from the floor. Ryan McPartland was the top scorer for Gustavus with 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds. The Gusties, who moved into sole possession of second place in the MIAC, improved to 8-6 overall and 7-2 in the league. Saint John’s dropped to 7-8 overall and 5-5 in the conference.
After taking an 8-6 lead with 15:48 on the clock, Gustavus was outscored 21-7 over the next ten minutes by the Johnnies to give Saint John’s a 27-15 lead prompting Head Coach Mark Hanson to call a timeout. The Gusties responded with an 8-0 run capped off by a steal and layup by Dan Schmidtknecht to pull with four points at 27-23 with 4:34 remaining in the half. The Johnnies built their advantage back up to eight points, but Robert Schmidt hit a three-pointer at the end of the half to send Gustavus into the locker room trailing 33-28.
Sam Paulson scored six of his ten points in an 11-2 run that ended with a three-pointer from Jesse Van Sickle to give the Gusties a 39-35 lead. Saint John’s fought back to regain a 49-47 advantage when Sam Blank drilled a three-pointer with 9:25 left in the contest. However, Gustavus countered with another 11-0 run as Robert Schmidt, Jesse Van Sickle, and Tyler Grey made consecutive three-point baskets to put the Gusties up 58-49. Again, the Johnnies crawled back into the game to tie the score at 62-62 with a pair of free throws from Aaron Barmore.
On the next possession, Dan Schmidtknecht drove the right side of the lane and hit the layup to give Gustavus a two-point lead at 64-62 with the shot clock below five seconds. Ryan McPartland pulled down a key defensive rebound on Saint John’s next trip down the floor with 1:06 as the Gusties headed down the floor to make it a two-possession game. With one second left on the shot clock, Schmidtknecht hit his second layup, putting Gustavus ahead 66-62. Both sides missed free throws as time was winding down, but Van Sickle made both shots from the charity stripe with four seconds left to shut the door on the Johnnies and a 68-62 win.
Four players reached double-figures for the Gusties including Ryan McPartland with 16, Jesse Van Sickle with 12, and Sam Paulson and Bobby Johnson with 10 each. Gustavus shot 45.0 percent (27-for-60) in the game, went 6-for-11 from three-point range, and committed just six turnovers. Saint John’s was led by Aaron Burtzel with 16 points and 10 rebounds from Aaron Barmore. The Johnnies were 21-for-57 (36.8 percent) from the field and struggled from behind the arc hitting 6-for-23, but held a 44-33 rebounding edge over the Gusties.
Gustavus faces Carleton in another key MIAC contest on Wednesday in Northfield at 7:45 p.m.