The No. 6 seed Gustavus men’s basketball team will face No. 1 seed St. Thomas in the MIAC Semifinals on Wednesday night at Schoenecker Arena in St. Paul with tip-off at 7:30 p.m. The winner will advance to the conference championship game on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the site of the highest remaining seed. Gustavus enters the contest at 13-13, while St. Thomas is undefeated at 25-0. You can listen to the game on KRDS-FM (95.5) or through the Gustavus website.
-The Gusties are making their ninth consecutive appearance in the MIAC semifinals after Monday’s 71-68 win over Saint John’s. It is the longest streak of any team in the conference followed by St. Thomas, which has made five straight semifinal appearances. The only time Gustavus and the Tommies have previously met in the MIAC semifinals was in 1988 when the Gusties prevailed 65-58 at Gus Young Court.
-Jesse Van Sickle and Sam Paulson lead Gustavus in scoring averaging 10.8 and 10.1 points per game, respectively. However, ten different players have paced Gustavus in scoring this season.
-The Gusties finished the conference schedule ranked fourth in scoring offense at 69.8 points per game and second in scoring defense allowing 63.0 points per game.
-Gustavus was second in the MIAC behind St. Thomas in field goal percentage making 49.3 percent of its shots. The Gusties were also second in three-point field goal percentage at 38.9 percent (105-for-270). Jesse Van Sickle led the conference in three-point field goal percentage at 48.6 percent (35-for-72).
-The Gusties led the league in rebounding margin by grabbing an average of 5.2 boards more than their opponent.
-This season the halftime score has been a good predictor of the outcome of the game as Gustavus is 12-3 in games when it is leading at halftime and 1-10 when it is trailing at halftime.
-The Gusties’ upset over No. 3 Saint John’s marked the fifth time since the expansion of the MIAC Playoffs to a six-team format in 2000-01 that the sixth-seed has defeated the third-seed. The last time the No. 6 team defeated the No. 3 team was in 2007 when St. Olaf knocked off Bethel 81-79 in overtime.
-Junior Sam Paulson recorded his first double-double of the season and second of his career with 17 points and 13 boards against Saint John’s on Saturday. He followed up the performance with 15 points and six rebounds in Monday night’s game against the Johnnies. Over the last four games, Paulson has averaged 13.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.
The Gusties’ starting lineup includes junior wing Jesse Van Sickle (10.8 ppg), junior post Sam Paulson (10.1 ppg), junior wing Ryan McPartland (9.9 ppg), senior wing Robert Schmidt (7.6), and senior point guard Mike DesLauriers (2.7 ppg). Sophomore point guard Dan Schmidtknecht (5.6 ppg) and first-year post Bobby Johnson (6.4 ppg) are the first players off the bench.
The Tommies starting lineup includes junior guard Joe Scott (13.4 ppg), senior guard B.J. Viau (10.4 ppg), sophomore point guard Tyler Nicolai (9.5 ppg), senior forward Alex McCoy (8.3 ppg), and senior guard Lonnie Robinson (7.6 ppg). Sophomore forward Anders Halvorsen is the first player off the bench (7.2 ppg).
MIAC Tournament Website