From second half scoring-surges to game-winning buzzer-beaters, Seth Anderson (Minnesota Lake, Minn.) has found ways to put the Gustavus men’s basketball team in a position to win early on this season. Tonight was no different, as Gustie fans are probably asking themselves, “What will Seth Anderson do next?” On the back of a 36-point performance by their senior guard, the Gusties held on late to defeat an unbeaten Augsburg team 82-80 on Gus Young Court.
With the win, Gustavus improves to 4-2 overall and 3-1 in the MIAC, while Augsburg suffers its first loss of the season, dropping to 5-1 overall and 3-1 in the MIAC.
Seth Anderson simply did not miss for over 12 minutes to start the game. He went 11-for-11 from the opening tip, scoring 22 points and giving Gustavus a 28-20 lead by the 7:46 mark of the first half. Whether it was coming off screens, getting to the basket, or pulling up in the lane, everything Anderson threw at the rim went in.
“Yeah he had a decent first half didn’t he?” joked Head Coach Mark Hanson after the game. “It certainly isn’t common for us to let somebody go ten-plus minutes straight, but when a guy makes 11-straight shots, it is hard to take him out.”
Despite the strong individual performance, the Auggies did not lie down and would continue to chip away at the Gustavus lead, cutting it to three points (32-29) with 3:46 left in the half. Following a three-pointer by Parker Hines with :28 seconds on the clock, Reed Sallstrom (Winthrop, Minn.) got free to bank home a layup and send the two teams into the locker room with Gustavus leading 40-34 at the break.
Anderson finished the half with 26 points after going 13-for-18 from the floor. Gustavus shot 58.1-percent as a team in the first half, while Augsburg shot 46.7-percent.
Gustavus would keep the pressure on in the opening four minutes of the second half, outscoring the Auggies 13-to-6 to lead 53-42 by the 16:10 mark. The Gusties’ largest lead of the game at came following a Paul Blacklock (Winona, Minn.) layup at 13:20, putting Gustavus up 58-44. Blacklock was 2-for-2 in the half for five points. He finished with six rebounds and a game-high four blocks. The team registered a season-high nine blocks in the game.
Gustavus’ lead would linger between 10-and-13 points until the five-minute mark of the half. It was at that stage that Augsburg would make its run. A layup by Andy Grzesiak -Grimm at the 4:59 mark sparked a 12-2 Auggie run and in the blink of an eye, Gustavus was clinging to a 79-78 lead with :19 seconds on the clock. Augsburg’s Tyler Schmidt had two three-pointers within the run, going 4-for-6 from behind the arc in the half to lead the team with 12 points.
Ben Biewen (Edina, Minn.) knocked down a pair of free throws to put Gustavus up 81-78, yet Augsburg came down the floor and scored a quick two points on a layup by Andy Seidlitz, cutting the lead to 81-80.
Jim Hill (Edina, Minn.) hit 1-of-2 free tosses after being fouled on the ensuing in-bounds pass, giving Gustavus an 82-80 edge with :07 seconds left. The Gustavus defense bore down on the final possession, stifling guard Parker Hines in the remaining seconds and not allowing a good look at a game-tying three-point try.
“At times our defense was really good,” commented coach Hanson. “There were some breakdowns as they were making their run and we started hugging our guys instead of playing defense. We were able to break down when we needed to and we did a nice job to come out with a win.”
Gustavus finished 33-for-60 (55.0%) from the field, 2-for-11 (18.2%) from three-point range, and 14-for-18 (77.8%) at the line. On the other side, Augsburg went 30-for-64 (46.9%) from the field, 7-for-17 (41.2%) from three, and 13-for-14 (92.9%) at the charity stripe.
Anderson led all scorers in the game, finishing with 36 points on 16-of-26 shooting. He also went 4-for-6 at the line. Also hitting double-digits for the Gusties was Jim Hill and Adam Michel (New Prague, Minn.). After an eight-point second half, Hill finished with 10 points and was 4-for-9 from the field. Michel also scored 10 and was 3-for-4 from the floor and 4-for-6 at the stripe.
“It was a good team win, but you have to give a lot of credit to Seth Anderson. He got us off to a fast start and we didn’t let off from that point on,” said senior post Paul Blacklock.
Augsburg finished with four players in double-figures. Grzesiak-Grimm led the way with 18 points after going 7-for-12 from the field and 4-for-4 at the line. Schmidt was next in line with 14 points, while Seidlitz and Cory Polta had 13 and 12 points, respectively.
“They have an outstanding inside game and a good sense of how to use it,” said Hanson of Augsburg. “That along with some good shooters makes for a good team. Although there were some things I’d like to see us do better, we’ll take a win against a good team any day.”
Gustavus will complete its first three-game week of the season on Saturday when it travels to Northfield, Minn. to take on St. Olaf at 3:00 p.m.