Eau Claire, Wis. – After jumping out to a 20-5 lead in the first eight minutes, the Gustavus men’s basketball team opened the Eau Claire Holiday Classic with a 71-60 victory over UW-Superior on Friday night. The Yellowjackets were able to cut the lead to three late, but an 8-0 run to finish the game sealed the six-point win for the Gusties. With the win, Gustavus improves to 3-5 on the year while UW-Superior drops to 3-8 overall.
Gustavus scored 14 of the first 16 points on their way to a 14-2 lead and would never look back. A Jim Hill (Sr., Edina, Minn.) steal on the opening possession set the tone for the first half. Reed Sallstrom (Sr., Winthrop, Minn.) nailed a jumper on the opening offensive possession for the Gusties to take the first lead of the contest.
Sallstrom’s jumper would prove to be the only lead change of the game. Gustavus would not trail for the remainder of the contest. The Yellowjackets ended the first half on a 10-4 run to cut the halftime deficit to six at 41-35. Eight UW-Superior first half turnovers that produced 14 Gustavus points aided the Gusties in building the six-point lead. Gustavus turned the ball over just twice, which led to only one first half basket for UW-Superior.
Gustavus was able to push its lead to 10 on an Isaac Tapp (So., Stewartville, Minn.) layup at the 18:03 mark of the second half. The Gusties led by 10 with six minutes to go, but UW-Superior came back with an 11-4 run to cut the lead to three on a Bronson Byrne layup with 1:55 remaining. From there, the Gusties finished the game on an 8-0 run that featured 6-for-8 shooting from the free throw line to seal the win.
Jim Hill led the way for the Gusties with 21 points and six rebounds. Hill finished the game going 8-for-14 from the field and also added three assists and three steals. Ben Biewen (Sr., Edina, Minn.) filled the stat line with 16 points, five rebounds, five steals and four assists. Jordan Dick (Jr., Wabasha, Minn.) added nine points and Isaac Tapp chipped in eight. Brody Ziegler (Fr., Mankato, Minn.) contributed a career-high seven points off bench while Martin Feddersen (So., Winona, Minn.) finished as the team’s leading rebounder with eight.
The Gusties will be back in action tomorrow evening against UW-Eau Claire at 5:00 p.m.