The Gustavus men’s basketball team scored a season-high 86 points to defeat Bethel 86-52 on Saturday afternoon in St. Peter, Minn. The Gusties were led by Jesse Van Sickle who scored a season-high 25 points on 10-for-17 shooting. With the victory, Gustavus moves back into sole possession of second place in the MIAC standings with just two regular season games left to play. The Gusties improve to 14-9 overall and 12-6 in the MIAC, as Bethel drops to 11-12 overall and 7-11 in the MIAC.
Gustavus started the game with strong defense and hot shooting, as the Gusties scored on their first five possessions of the game, taking an 11-4 lead three minutes into the half. A dunk by Dan Schmidtknecht at the 13:23 mark sparked a 14-4 scoring run that gave Gustavus a 29-11 lead with 8:01 left to play in the half. The Gustavus defense did not allow a Bethel basket for over 4:00 minutes within the run. A three pointer by Van Sickle with :30 seconds left gave Gustavus it’s largest lead of the half at 46-22. Van Sickle finished with 10 points in the half, as Gustavus shot 54.3% (19-35). Bethel shot 32.1% (9-28) in the half, while committing eight turnovers.
Gustavus was in control of the game for the remaining 20 minutes, as Van Sickle went on to shoot 6-for-8 from the field the remainder of the game, leading the team with 15 second half points. A layup by Schmidtknecht with 10:33 remaining in the game put Gustavus up 67-37, as Bethel could not put together a scoring run to threaten the Gustavus lead. Gustavus committed just one turnover in the second half, and 6 total in the game, tying it’s season-low. The Gusties shot 47.2% (17-36) from the field in the half, compared to Bethel’s 25.7% (9-35).
Schmidtknecht and Phil Wirtjes joined Van Sickle in double figure scoring with 12 and 11 points, respectively. The Gusties had the advantage on assists over Bethel 28-8 in the game, as Schmidtknecht recorded seven. Paul Blacklock finished with 11 rebounds and a season-high six blocks. Bethel’s Nate Robertson led the team with 17 points, going 4-for-14 from the field and 9-for-12 from the free throw line. Gustavus shot 50.7% (36-71) in the game, as Bethel shot 28.6% (18-63).
The Gustavus men’s basketball team will be back in action on Wednesday, Feb. 17, against St. Thomas at 7:45 pm in St. Paul.