The Gustavus men’s basketball team opened the 2009-10 season with a 65-63 victory over Buena Vista on Tuesday night in Storm Lake, Iowa. Solid second-half shooting helped Gustavus build a double-digit lead as the Gusties shot 63.6% (14-22) from the field in the final 20 minutes. The Beavers came charging back in the final five minutes, but the Gusties held on and claimed the two-point victory. Jesse Van Sickle and Dan Schmidtknecht were Gustavus’s high scorers with ten and nine points, respectively. The Gusties are now 1-0 on the young season, while Buena Vista falls to 2-2.
The Gusties got off to a bit of a slow start and trailed 12-2 just five minutes into the game. Gustavus battled back and cut the lead to two at 28-26 on a three-point play by Adam Michel and two free throws by James Hill in the final minute of the half. The Gusties shot a cool 34.4 percent (11-32) in the first 20 minutes, while Buena Vista shot a bit better making 11-of-23 (47.0 percent). Adam Michel scored seven points to lead Gustavus in the first half, while Wes Nordquist led the Beavers with eight points.
Early in the second half, Gustavus tied the game at 34-34 on a Schmidtknecht three-pointer. A Paul Blacklock layup with under 15 minutes to play gave the Gusties a 38-36 lead and that would prove to be the last lead change. Back-to-back three-pointers by Tyler Gray and Van Sickle helped the Gusties build a 12-point lead with just over ten minutes to play. The Beavers used a 12-4 run over the final five minutes of the game to pull within two points at 65-63 with :16 to go. A Gustavus turnover would give Buena Vista a chance to tie with 15 seconds left, but the Beavers missed a jumper with two seconds left and Gustavus held on for the victory.
Second-half shooting was a bright spot for the Gusties as they shot 63.6% (14-22) from the field and 75.0 percent from behind the arc (6-8). Buena Vista shot 51.9 percent (14-27) from the field and 25.0 percent (1-4) from behind the arc in the second half.
Balanced scoring was the key for Gustavus as seven players scored seven points or more including Van Sickle with 10, Schmidtknecht with 9, Tyler Grey with 8, and Phil Wirtjes, James Hill, Adam Michel, and Paul Blacklock with 7 each.
The Gusties will host UW-La Crosse in the home opener on Sunday, November 29th, at 3:00 pm.