The Gustavus men’s basketball team used a fast start to cruise past Concordia 61-43 on Wednesday night in Moorhead, Minn., clinching a least a share of the 2011-12 MIAC Title in the process. Gustavus – who caps off its regular season with an 8-4 record on the road – held on to a 39-17 lead at halftime despite shooting just 25-percent (7-28) from the field in the second half.
With the victory, Gustavus sets itself up for a season-finale with outright conference title stakes on the line against Bethel on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 3:00 p.m. at Gus Young Court. The first place Gusties have an overall record of 19-5 and an MIAC mark of 16-3. With the loss, Concordia drops to 7-17 overall and 5-14 in the MIAC.
As the Cobbers realized, its hard to climb your way out of a 19-point hole after your opponent starts the game 11-for-11 from the field and leads 25-6 with 11:17 left in the first half. Six different Gustavus players scored within the run, as Anderson led the way with eight points on 4-for-4 shooting. Anderson would finish the half with 12 points after going 6-for-9 from the field.
The Gusties would lead by as many as 23 points (56-33) by the 8:54 mark of the first half, shooting a red-hot 63-percent (17-27) from the field. Concordia made just seven field goals in the opening half, shooting 25.9-percent (7-27) from the floor.
Gustavus cooled off significantly in the second half, shooting just 25-percent (7-28) from the field. The closest the Cobbers would get to was 14 points (41-27) by the 14:48 mark on a Brandon Fisher jumper. Gustavus answered Fisher’s shot with an 11-4 run that saw them on top 52-31 with 10:38 to play. Concordia could not recover from the run and the Gusties would hold a comfortable lead between the 17-and-23 point range for the remainder of the game.
Concordia outscored the Gusties 26-to-22 in the second half, shooting 40.9-percent (9-22) within the frame.
Anderson led the Gusties with a game-high 18 points following a 7-for-17 shooting performance. Blake Shay was next in line with 14 points, his best scoring output since a 15-point night against Hardin-Simons on Dec. 12, after going 5-for-9 from the floor and 4-for-8 from beyond the arc. Tyler Grey dished out a season/game-high six assists, while Paul Blacklock brought down a game-high seven rebounds and turned away two shots.
Gustavus shot 43.6-percent (24-55) from the field, 35-percent (7-20) from three-point range, and a perfect 6-for-6 at the free throw line. On the other end, Concordia shot 32.7-percent (16-49) from the field, 14.3-percent (2-14) from behind the arc, and 75-percent (9-12) at the charity stripe.
The Cobbers were led in scoring by Dewon McKenzie with nine points, and Scot Flotterud who scored eight.