The Gustavus men’s basketball team suffered a heartbreaking 66-62 loss in overtime to St. Thomas in the MIAC Playoff Championship game on Sunday afternoon in St. Paul. The Gusties used a late second half push to force overtime, yet couldn’t hold off St. Thomas in the extra session, allowing a 9-0 run in the final 2:25 of the game.
St. Thomas defeats Gustavus in the MIAC Championship for the second-straight season, earning the conference’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The Gusties drop to 20-7 overall with the loss, while St. Thomas is now 21-6.
Despite a slow start, Gustavus hung around and kept the score within the 10-point range for the duration of the first half. Tyler Grey led the Gusties with seven points in the half, as Gustavus shot 36.4-percent from the field. Will DeBerg tallied 12 points to lead all scorers, going 4-for-8 from the field and 2-for-6 from three-point range.
St. Thomas shot 37.9-percent from the field in the opening half and led by 31-23 at the break.
Tyler Grey knocked down a three-pointer to cut the Tommie lead to 31-26 one minute into the second half, yet St. Thomas did not let up, building back a 10-point (41-31) lead by 13:51 of the half.
A jumper by Will DeBerg at the 7:00 mark (50-42) turned out to be the turning point…for Gustavus. From that point, the Gusties shut down the Tommie offense for over three-minutes, cutting the score to 50-49 with 3:51 on the clock. After trading points for three minutes, Gustavus took the lead (55-54) for the first time in the game when Seth Anderson buried a mid-range jumper curling off a screen with :23 seconds left.
John Nance drew a foul and went to the line on the ensuing possession, hitting one-of-two free tosses to tie the game at 55-55. Gustavus would turn the ball over on the following possession and the game went into overtime tied 55-55.
With the game tied at 57-57 just over a minute into overtime, a jumper and three-pointer by Anderson on consecutive possessions put the Black and Gold on top 62-57. The triple by Anderson was just his fifth of the season.
Anderson’s three turned out to be the kiss of death, as the Gusties had more turnovers (4) than shots (0-2) in the final 2:25 of the game.
Gustavus finished the contest 24-for-52 (46.2%) from the field, 3-for-14 (21.4%) from three-point range, and 11-for-15 (73.3%) at the free throw line.
Seniors Tyler Grey and Seth Anderson led the Gusties in scoring with a combined 35 points. Grey finished with a career-high 19 points after going 6-of-10 from the floor, 2-for-5 from three, and 5-of 6 at the stripe. Anderson went 7-for-17 from the field for 16 points.
The St. Thomas scoring attack was fronted by Zach Riedeman who scored 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field. Will DeBerg was next in line with 17 points, going 6-for-13 from the floor and 3-for-9 from behind the arc.
The Tommies went 24-for-59 (40.7%) from the field, 5-for-17 (29.4%) from three, and 13-for-20 (65%) at the line.