Menomonie, Wis. – The Gustavus men’s basketball team dropped its first game of the season on Friday night, falling to UW-Stout 59-55. After trailing for most of the game, the Gusties were able to even the score at 51-51 with 3:20 to play, but it was all they could muster, as the Blue Devils pulled away with an 8-4 run to finish the game and hold on to the four-point victory. With the loss, Gustavus falls to 1-1 on the season, while UW-Stout improves to 3-0.
After leading by as many as seven in the first half, UW-Stout took a four-point lead to the intermission after turning Gustavus over nine times. Although the Blue Devils scored just four points off turnovers, they held a nine-shot advantage heading in to the break. The Gusties shot 42.9-percent (9-for-21) from the floor in the first 20 minutes compared to the Blue Devils’ 36.7-percent (11-for-30), but still trailed after the first 20 minutes.
The Gusties came out firing in the early minutes of the second half. Back-to-back three-pointers by Ben Biewen (Sr., Edina, Minn.) tied the game up at 28-28 with 16:46 left in the second before UW-Stout used a 17-6 run to push the lead to 11 with 7:28 to play. Gustavus countered with a 17-6 run of its own over the next 4:27 to tie the score at 51-51 on a jumper by Jim Hill (Sr., Edina, Minn.) with 3:20 left in regulation.
A put-back on the offensive glass on the ensuing possession for the Blue Devils proved to be the back-breaker for the Black and Gold, as UW-Stout would close the game with an 8-4 run to hang on for the four-point win.
Jim Hill was a rebound shy of his second career double-double to pace the Gusties. Hill led all scorers with 21 points on 7-for-13 shooting from the field and a perfect 7-for-7 from the line, while pulling down nine rebounds on the night. Ben Biewen followed Hill as the only other Gustie to score in double figures. Biewen finished with 18 points on 6-for-7 shooting, including 2-for-3 from the three-point line and a perfect 4-for-4 from the charity stripe.
The Blue Devils saw three players in double figures, led by Alex Oman. Oman poured in 17 points to go along with seven rebounds. Chris Hortman chipped in 13 points and nine rebounds, while Josh Kosloske added 10 points and eight rebounds.
Gustavus will be back in action following the Thanksgiving break when it hosts Augsburg College in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) opener on Wednesday, Nov. 28th at 7:30 p.m.