Winona, Minn. – The Gustavus men’s basketball team earned its third consecutive win with a 75-56 victory over Saint Mary’s Wednesday night. The Gusties trailed midway through the second half, but a 32-6 run pushed the Gustavus lead to as many as 24 before holding on for the 19-point victory. With the win, the Gusties improve to 5-5 (2-3 MIAC). The Cardinals drop to 1-8 (0-4 MIAC).
For the third consecutive game, the Gusties jumped out to an early lead in the first half. The Black and Gold ran to a 12-4 advantage in the first five minutes of the contest before Saint Mary’s used a 7-2 run to bring the score back to within three. From there, the two squads traded baskets until the Gusties were able to extend their lead to 11 on a Blake Shay (Sr., Lakeville, Minn.) layup with 4:10 remaining in the opening half. Gustavus would head to the locker room with an eight-point advantage at the break with the score 34-26.
Saint Mary’s took its turn to open the second half with a run. The Cardinals outscored the Gusties 17-9 and took the lead on a three-pointer by Evan Pederson at the 13:40 mark. With 11:52 to play, Michael Burfeind went 1-for-2 from the free throw line to put the Cardinals up by two points at 45-43. What ensued was a Gustavus explosion.
A layup by Chad Poppen (Fr., St. Peter, Minn.) with 11:40 to go spurred a 32-6 run that stretched over the next 10 minutes of play and put the game out of reach for the Cardinals. Eight different Gusties scored during the run, which was capped off by a Sergio Najera (Fr., New Prague, Minn.) jumper with 1:53 remaining in regulation. During that stretch, the Gusties were nearly perfect, shooting 13-for-14 from the field including 3-for-3 from three-point range and also went 3-for-3 from the free throw line. Of the 13 made baskets, 10 were assisted and nine came in the paint.
For the game, Gustavus shot 58.2-percent (32-for-55) from the field, 46.2-percent (6-for-13) from three-point range, and a perfect 100-percent (5-for-5) from the free throw line. Comparatively, Saint Mary’s shot 46.3-percent (19-for-41) from the floor, 35.7-percent (5-for-14) from three, and 76.5-percent (13-for-17) from the charity stripe. The biggest difference in the statistics, however, came in points off turnovers where the Gusties outscored the Cardinals 24-4 in the contest.
Gustavus was led by Ben Biewen (Sr., Edina, Minn.) with 17 points and five assists. Biewen went 6-for-9 from the field, including one trey, and a perfect 4-for-4 from the stripe. He also added two steals. Blake Shay came off the bench to contribute 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting. Shay drained 2-of-2 three-point attempts on the night. Jim Hill (Sr., Edina, Minn.) was the only other Gustie to register double-figures. Hill finished with 15 points on 7-for-13 shooting and also chipped in two steals.
Michael Burfeind led Saint Mary’s with 13 points on 5-for-9 shooting from the floor. Burfeind went 3-for-4 from the free throw line and also pulled down three rebounds. Evan Pederson added 10 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Will Swiggum snatched a team-high six rebounds.
Following the win, the Gusties will return home for a Saturday afternoon showdown with Hamline at Gus Young Court on Jan. 5th. Opening tip set for 3:00 p.m.