St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus men’s basketball team won its third consecutive game with an 87-75 victory over Concordia Saturday afternoon at Gus Young Court. The Gusties never trailed in the contest. They took a 19-point lead to halftime and held on for the 12-point victory. Gustavus saw five players score in double-figures on the afternoon. With the win, the Gusties move to 9-6 (7-4 MIAC) on the season while the Cobbers drop to 10-6 (7-4 MIAC).
Isaac Tapp (So., Stewartville, Minn.) knocked down a three-pointer from the top of the key 1:19 into the game, and the Gusties would never look back. Gustavus went on to shoot 62.1-percent (18-29) from the field in the first half, including a 50-percent (4-8) mark from behind the three-point line. They also held Concordia to 43.5-percent (10-23) shooting in the half and forced 10 Cobber turnovers. The Gustie men built a 19-point lead heading into halftime with the score 46-to-27.
Gustavus pushed its lead to as many as 21 points with 6:26 to play on a Blake Shay (Sr., Lakeville, Minn.) layup to make the score 79-58. The Cobbers made it interesting with a 15-to-6 run that cut the lead to 12 points with 1:07 remaining, but they could not come any closer as the Gusties hung on for the 12-point victory by a final score of 87-to-75.
The Gusties shot a blistering 72.0-percent (18-25) from the field in the second half, including a 60.0-percent (3-5) mark from behind the arc. For the game, Gustavus shot 66.7-percent (36-54) from the field, 53.8-percent (7-13) from the three-point line and 88.9-percent (8-9) from the charity stripe. Even with the outstanding shooting performance, head coach Mark Hanson still found ways to improve following the game.
“Mentally, it’s hard to sit in the locker room for 15 minutes at halftime with a 19-point lead after you play as well as we did in the first half. It is human nature to come out softer in the second half,” stated Hanson. “I thought we shot well early in the second half, and then we just got a little sloppy, especially in that last four or five minutes. We hoped we would have finished better, but it gives us something to work on going forward.”
Jim Hill (Sr, Edina, Minn.) led all scorers in the contest with 17 points on 7-for-12 shooting from the floor. He also added three assists and two steals on the afternoon. Blake Shay came next with 16 points off the bench. Shay converted on 6-of-9 field goals and registered three rebounds and two blocked shots. Isaac Tapp came next with 14 points on 6-for-9 shooting including two triples. Ben Biewen (Sr., Edina, Minn.) finished with 12 points on 4-for-7 shooting and dished out five assists. Rounding out the five Gusties in double-figures was Jordan Dick (Jr., Wabasha, Minn.) with 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the field and 2-for-3 from deep.
“Without question there were a lot of positive things we can take from this game,” finished Hanson. “But unless we decide to improve from where we are, we are not going to get better, and if we don’t get better, we are not going to achieve some of the goals we have set for ourselves.”
The Gusties will play next on Monday, Jan. 21st when they host St. Olaf College in St. Peter. Opening tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. at Gus Young Court.