The Gustavus men’s basketball team saw its four-game MIAC winning streak come to an end with a 94-89 overtime loss to Hamline in St. Peter on Monday night. The Gusties and Pipers battled straight up for 40 minutes, but Hamline got hot in the overtime making 5-of-6 shots from the field and 6-of-9 from the free throw line and the result was an important league win on the road for the Pipers. Gustavus, which suffered its second consecutive overtime loss, falls to 6-4 overall and 4-1 in MIAC play, while Hamline improves to 4-5 overall and 2-2 in conference play.
Gustavus head coach Mark Hanson was impressed with the play of Hamline’s Carl Hipp and Noah Aguirre who combined to score 52 of the Pipers 94 points. Hipp scored 29 points on 12-of-15 shooting from the field and grabbed 15 rebounds, while Aguirre contributed 23 points, dished off five assists and made five steals. Hanson commented, “Obviously they hurt us inside. Hipp was awfully good on both ends of the floor and Aguirre was very effective as well.”
While Hamline relied heavily on the duo of Hipp and Aguirre, the Gusties used great team balance against the Pipers. Five players reached double figures for Gustavus including Reed Sallstrom with 15, James Hill with 13, Phil Wirtjes and Dan Schmidtknecht with 11 each and Seth Anderson with 10, while Bobby Johnson and Tyler Grey just missed double figures with nine points each.
Hanson felt the Gusties played well, but couldn’t quite come up with the big play when they needed it. He stated, “When you are tied after 40 minutes of play, one or two little things can make the difference. We had some opportunities, but we just did not make enough plays at key times and to their credit Hamline did.”
In the overtime, the Pipers jumped out to a quick six-point lead on two lay-ups by Hipp and a jumper by Aguirre, but the Gusties countered with a 6-2 run to cut the lead to two at 86-84 with 1:50 left in the extra session. It looked like Gustavus was going to tie the score on a steal by Seth Anderson at the 1:29 mark, but Phil Wirtjes was unable to convert on a fastbreak opportunity and the Pipers countered with a 5-0 run to build their lead to seven at 91-84 with :22 left. A three-point basket by Wirtjes with :12 left cut the lead to four, but that is as close as the Gusties would get.
Hanson was philosophical about the loss saying, “It’s a long season and there are a lot of games left. If you get too down about a loss or too up about a win it can cost you. We will go back to work tomorrow and find ways to make those little things go our way.”
Gustavus (6-4, 4-1) will head to St. Paul on Saturday to face first place St. Thomas (10-0, 5-0) at 3:00 pm.