The Gustavus men’s basketball team stayed unbeaten in MIAC play with a hard-fought 83-73 win at Macalester on Wednesday night. The Scots cut a double-digit Gustie lead to six points with :16 left in regulation play, however Phil Wirtjes made four free throws in the final seconds to allow Gustavus to hold on for the 10-point victory. Wirtjes led Gustavus in scoring with 20 points.
The Gusties shot very well early in the game making 8 of their first 13 shots (including 3-of-4 from behind the arc) and jumping out to a 19-5 lead at the 13:32 mark of the first half. The Scots, however countered with an 18-6 run to cut the lead to two points at 25-23 at the 7:20 mark. The score remained close the rest of the half and the Gusties went into the locker room at the intermission with a 39-35 lead. James Hill (10) and Seth Anderson (8) combined to score nearly half of the Gusties 39 points in the first 20 minutes of play.
Pierce Peters knocked down a three-point shot to open the second half for Macalester cutting the Gustavus lead to one point at 39-38. The Gusties would counter with a 13-4 run to push their lead back to 10 points at 52-42 with 15:41 left to play. Gustavus built its lead to 16 points (62-46) on a three-point basket by Tyler Grey at the 12:42 mark. The Gusties maintained 8-to-12 point leads through the next 11 minutes, but the Scots used a 4-0 flurry in the final minute of play to cut the lead to six (79-73) with 16 seconds left in the game. Phil Wirtjes was 4-of-4 from the free throw line in the final seconds securing the win for Gustavus.
Wirtjes scored 14 second half points for the Gusties and finished with 20. Joining Wirtjes in double figures for the Gusties were James Hill with 16 and Seth Anderson with 10. Macalester’s Pierce Peters led all scorers with 24 points.
Gustavus will now break for final exams and the Christmas holiday before returning to action on December 30 at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:05 pm.