The wait was a bit longer than the Gusties would have liked, but the Gustavus men’s basketball team presented Head Coach Mark Hanson his 400th career victory on Saturday afternoon by defeating Saint Mary’s 89-78 at Gus Young Court in St. Peter. The Gusties took their first lead six minutes into the contest and never relinquished it on their way to the 11-point victory in the regular season finale. Seth Anderson scored 26 points to lead Gustavus, which finished with a league mark of 11-9 and earned the #5 spot in the MIAC Playoffs, which begin next Wednesday, February 23.
Saint Mary’s got off to a fast start and led 9-2 and 13-6, before the Gusties caught fire and went on a 16-2 run that would give them a 22-15 lead at the 12:58 mark. Gustavus would not trail the rest of the game. The Cardinals would pull back to within two at 22-20, but then the Gusties used a 9-0 run to take its first double-digit lead of the game at 31-20 at the 6:25 mark. Gustavus would maintain its lead at 7-10 points the rest of the half and a Dan Schmidtknecht jumper with 06 seconds left gave the Gusties a 10-point lead (43-33) at the intermission.
The Cardinals slowly mounted a comeback in the second half cutting the lead to six several times before finally closing to within three points at 57-54 on a three-point basket by Ryan Wockenfus at the 12:29 mark. That, however was as close as Saint Mary’s would get as the Gusties would maintain a 5-8 point lead until pulling away late and claiming the 11-point victory.
Seth Anderson had a big second half for the Gusties as he poured in 17 points and led all scorers in the game with 26. Others in double figures for Gustavus were Phil Wirtjes with 13, Dan Schmidtknecht with 12, and Tyler Grey and Adam Michel with 10 points each. Chris Palmer and Will Wright led Saint Mary’s with 20 points each.
It was Senior Day at Gustavus and the Gustavus Athletic Department and the men’s basketball team saluted the three seniors playing their final game on Gus Young Court. That group included Dan Schmidtknecht, Phil Wirtjes, and Mathew Doble.
Gustavus completed the regular season in fifth place in the MIAC standings with a league record of 11-9. The Gusties are the #5 seed in the MIAC Playoffs and will play St. Olaf in Northfield on Wednesday, February 23 at 7:30 pm. The Gusties split the regular season series with Oles as Gustavus won 74-66 in St. Peter and St. Olaf won 80-64 in Northfield.