The Gustavus men’s basketball team got off to a bit of slow start against conference opponent St. Olaf Wednesday night in St. Peter, Minn., yet the Gusties caught fire and shot 83% (15-18) from the field in the second half, giving them a 69-56 victory. Gustavus’s posts Sam Paulson and Ryan McPartland led the team in scoring with 15 and 13 points, respectively. St. Olaf was led by Stu Neville (15 pts) and Nate Krosschell (10 pts). Gustavus moves to 6-0 in the MIAC and 8-3 overall, while St. Olaf falls to 2-4 in the MIAC and 4-7 overall.
The Gusties struggled early in the game as St. Olaf took a quick 10-0 lead as the Oles started the game going 6-8 from the field. The Gusties would not score until Tyler Grey hit a jumper at the 15:49 mark, making the score 10-2. Gustavus would cut the lead to three points on three-pointer Adam Michel at the 8:09 mark, yet St. Olaf finished the half strong, bringing it’s lead to 36-25 at the break. St. Olaf shot 53.8% (14-26) from the field in the first half, as Neville led the team in scoring with 10 points. Gustavus finished the half shooting 52.4% (11-21) from the field, as they were led in by Sam Paulson (9 pts).
The start of the second half was reminiscent of the first as St. Olaf got out to a fast start by taking 45-29 lead just four minutes into the half. Gustavus began to chip away at the lead and would bring the score to within seven points at the 11:54 mark. A jumper by Jesse Van Sickle with 9:56 remaining in the game sparked a 23-2 Gustavus scoring run that gave the Gusties a 63-51 lead with 2:44 remaining in the game. Solid free throw shooting down the stretch gave the Gustavus the 13 point victory, it’s sixth straight in the MIAC. McPartland scored 13 points in the second half and shot a perfect 4-4 from the field. Wirtjes also went a perfect 3-3 for eight points in the half, as Jesse Van Sickle threw in eight points on 3-4 shooting. The Oles finished the half going 8-27 (29.6%) from the field.
The Gusties shot 66.7% (26-39) from the field in the game, while going 4-7 from behind the arch. St. Olaf struggled from three-point range shooting 26.3% (5-19), while shooting 41.5% (22-53) from the field. Other leading scorers for Gustavus were Van Sickle (8 pts), Wirtjes (8 pts), and Adam Michel (8 pts). Paulson and McPartland also led the team in rebounding with eight and six boards, respectively.
The Gustavus men’s basketball team will next host Hamline University at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 9, in St. Peter, Minn.