St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus men’s basketball team shot 51 percent from the field, including a 58 percent clip in the second half, to streak past the University of Minnesota, Crookston 70-61 in exhibition play on Friday night at Gus Young Court. Four Gusties finished in double figures, led by Jim Hill (Sr., Edina, Minn.) with 18 points after going 8-for-12 from the field. Gustavus will open regular season play on Saturday, November 17th when it hosts Bethany Lutheran at 3:00 p.m.
A back and forth first half gave way to an 8-0 run for the Gusties that was sparked by Martin Feddersen (So., Winona, Minn.). With the score 22-21 in favor of the Golden Eagles, Feddersen converted on a driving layup at the 5:41 mark. On the ensuing possession, the sophomore turned defense into offense after a steal and breakaway layup put the Gusties on top 25-22. Dane Schmid (So., Mahtomedi, Minn.) chipped in a free throw before Jim Hill capped off the run with a three-pointer to extend the lead to seven (29-22) with 4:13 to play in the half. From there, the Gusties would never trail as they took a 35-26 lead to the locker room.
Gustavus came out firing in the second half, connecting on its first three field goal attempts after the break. Blake Shay (Sr., Lakeville, Minn.) nailed a three-pointer to open the half, and followed it up with a jumper on the next possession. Jordan Dick (Jr., Wabasha, Minn.) pushed the lead to 15 with a three-pointer from the corner before Minnesota, Crookston used a 15-4 run to cut the lead to four with just under 14 minutes to play.
A driving layup by Almir Krdzalic got the Golden Eagle run started at the 17:50 mark. It was Krdzalic again with a layup a minute later, and Brandon Burns with a three-pointer a minute after that to shrink the lead to eight with 15:51 remaining. Minnesota, Crookston continued to strike with another layup from Krdzalic and three from Burns. A jumper and a reverse layup by Reed Sallstrom (Sr., Winthrop, Minn.) momentarily stopped the bleeding, but a three from the wing by Tim Lubke cut the Gustie lead to four (47-43) with 13:51 left in regulation.
A pair of Ben Biewen (Sr., Edina, Minn.) free throws and a Hill three-pointer pushed the Gustie lead to nine before the Golden Eagles mounted another comeback and cut the difference to two on a layup by Joseph Moorer with nine minutes left. From there, the two squads traded baskets for the remainder of the half until the Golden Eagles were forced to intentionally foul with :53 seconds remaining. Isaac Tapp (So., Stewartville, Minn.) and Biewen both went two-for-two at the free throw line to push the score to 70-61, and seal the win for the Gusties.
Jim Hill led all scorers with nine points in each half for a total of 18 points on eight-for-12 shooting. Jordan Dick was a free throw from perfection on the night. The junior went a perfect 3-for-3 from the field, including 2-for-2 from behind the three-point line, and was 2-for-3 from the charity stripe for a total of 10 points in the game. Seniors Ben Biewen and Blake Shay also finished in double figures for the Gusties. Biewen recorded 10 points to go along with seven rebounds, while Shay notched 11 points and six rebounds.
Brandon Burns led the way for the Golden Eagles with 12 points on five-for-10 shooting. Burns was followed by Tim Lubke with nine points (3-for-4), and Justin Rake with seven (3-for-5). Rake also tallied a team-high five rebounds to pace Minnesota, Crookston.
The Gusties will open their regular season when they welcome Bethany Lutheran College to Gus Young Court on November 17th. Tip off is set for 3:00 p.m.