Moorhead, Minn. – Faced with a chance to secure a spot in the MIAC Playoffs with a win, the Gustavus men’s basketball team came away with a 69-62 loss at the hands of No. 2-seeded Concordia on Saturday afternoon. With wins from Bethel, Carleton, and Saint John’s, the Gusties will not make the six-team playoff field, thus concluding their season 13-11 (11-9 MIAC). Concordia improves to 18-7 (15-5 MIAC).
Gustavus got off to the start it was looking for in the first five-plus minutes of the contest. The Gusties shot out to a 12-3 lead on a jumper from Chad Poppen (Fr., St. Peter, Minn.) just 5:31 into the opening half. Concordia came back to tie the game up on back-to-back baskets from Andrew Martinson at the 5:51 mark and the score 20-20.
The Cobbers continued on to take a 31-30 lead into halftime. Although Gustavus shot 42.3-percent (11-26) compared to 37.5-percent (12-32) for Concordia, the Cobbers made 4-of-8 three-point tries while the Gusites went 0-for-4 from three-point land.
The two teams went back-and-forth in the early minutes of the second half before Concordia extended its lead to seven points with the score 50-43 and 8:19 remaining. Gustavus cut the lead to one point with 5:21 remaining. Jim Hill (Sr., Edina, Minn.) converted a layup to bring the score to 52-51.
From there, Concordia pushed its lead back to six on a pair of Ebo Nana-Kweson free throws with 1:42 to play. Ben Biewen (Sr., Edina, Minn.) knocked down a triple on the ensuing possession to cut the lead back to three points with a score of 63-60.
The Gusties got the miss they needed on the next Cobber possession, but an offensive rebound and put-back proved to be the back-breaker as Concordia scored on each of its final two possessions to seal the seven-point win with a final score of 69-62.
Ben Biewen led the Gusties in scoring with 19 points on 7-for-12 shooting from the floor. Biewen also went 4-for-4 from the free throw line. Jim Hill came next with 12 points and Isaac Tapp (So., Stewartville, Minn.) was the third and final Gustavus player in double-figures with 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting.
Ebo Nana-Kweson and Andrew Martinson led Concordia in scoring with 13 points each. Nana-Kweson also added six assists and four rebounds. Dewon McKenzie was the only other Cobber to finish in double-figure scoring with 11 points. Scott Flotterud came off the bench to provide eight points and 10 rebounds as well.
With the loss and wins by Bethel, Carleton, and Saint John’s, the Gusties will not receive a bid to the MIAC Playoffs. Gustavus concludes its season with a record of 13-11 (11-9 MIAC).